What. This chapter focuses on software engineering principles with specific emphasis on interactive installations providing embodied, tangible, and immersive experiences for the user. Such installations may deliver light, image, sound, and movement through actuators and may provide interaction through gesticulation, voice, and sensor signals. Installations are typically driven by specialized software that differs significantly from conventional business software, and in addition may include hardware components customized for the installation. To set the context, we give a range of example installations and support the description of the approach with a single case- a bumper car competition.
Why. To some extent, standard techniques for software development can be adapted for interactive installations. However, there is a need to emphasize the unique aspects of installations, bringing tangible architecture as well as esthetic experience, artistic expression, and leisure aspects into focus. The approach presented here has this intended purpose.
Where. Building on experience from conventional software development and with inspiration from interaction design and creative programming, this chapter considers the development of interactive installations for immersive experiences with emphasis on the special design challenges they present.
How. The approach described includes four phases: exploration, design, construction, and exhibition. The aim of the exploration is to clarify the general behavior of the installation using tools like sketching or storyboarding. The design involves a clarification of available and appropriate building blocks, as well as the linking of these blocks to provide an architectural framework comprising the intended external behavior. The construction phase takes a component-based approach to developing the final installation, and the exhibition phase concerns setting up, using, and evaluating the installation in the intended context-typically an event.