Embark on a journey where ancient traditions and today’s technology collide at the San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG), with a new location-based mobile tour. Beginning in fall 2013, visitors will be able to download an Android app to solve clues to find designated locations in the serene garden.
Haikus (a form of Japanese poetry), Sumi-e ink drawings (Japanese brush painting), and corresponding sounds provide clues to each location within the Garden. Once a location is discovered, the user receives a message that they have solved the clues and the app unlocks hidden facts and information about the specific location. Unlock all of the clues, and the visitor will receive a reward. This project will engage and excite guests, allowing them to interact with the beautiful gardens in a whole new way.
This project builds off a mobile app prototype developed by Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC), the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan, and the Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experience (PRIME) program at University of California, San Diego, which launched at Balboa Park’s Timken Museum of Art in April 2013. The Place Sticker technology, a localized wi-fi chip developed by Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd. (ISID), will be used in an outdoor setting for the first time in North America. This new model will be enhanced to utilize solar power. The Place Stickers will be affixed to 10 locations within the garden, sending low-power radio signals to visitors’ mobile devices to determine their location.
In addition to the location-based tour component, the new mobile app also will include information on new features in JFG’s nine-acre expansion area, which will be completed in January 2015 in conjunction with the launch of Balboa Park’s 2015 Celebration. The expansion will include an additional koi pond; an outdoor amphitheater where Park visitors can enjoy live performances; a traditional Japanese tea house; tea and herb garden, cherry tree grove, azalea garden, and other plant life; a dry waterfall; and more. It also provides us with the chance to enchant, educate, and engage the patrons of JFG in a new way that will enrich their experience and change the way that people learn and interact with the beauty and culture that surrounds them.
Kickstarter funds will be used to finish programming the app, to purchase waterproof containers to protect each outdoor Place Sticker, and to install the Place Stickers in the garden.
Originally designed as a teahouse during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Japanese Friendship Garden now includes a Zen garden, exhibit house, koi pond, bonsai exhibit, ceremonial gate, and Fujidana (wisteria arbor). JFG is also an educational resource for the community, providing a variety of seminars, classes, and workshops like sushi making, bonsai, calligraphy, and conversational Japanese, as well as accredited horticultural instruction. JFG’s mission is to create a Japanese-style garden dedicated to the well-being of all people which provides educational programs that encourage understanding of the Japanese heritage among people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultures.
Balboa Park Online Collaborative provides technical support to more than 25 art, science, and cultural organizations across San Diego, and has developed advanced mobile apps for organizations such as The San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Established in 1975, Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd., (ISID) launched Japan's first private computer time-sharing services and has been offering several advanced services for international networks including remote data processing services, Japan's first international electronic mailing service, and CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) software. Making full use of its strong global network, ISID has a proven record of success in global operating systems for international finance, procurement, and distribution with major clients in related fields.
The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) promotes the full spectrum of research and development in ICT from basic to applied research with an integrated perspective, and thus promotes the advancement of Japan as an intellectual nation that leads the international community.
The Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experience (PRIME) program at UCSD provides students with opportunities to participate in the international research and cultural experiences that will better prepare them to participate in the global workplace of the 21st century. The students’ research and related activities will contribute to the development of the exciting global cyberinfrastructure that brings observing platforms, computers, data, and most importantly, people together to conduct new research at leading institutions around the Pacific Rim.
Jesus was selected through a competitive process as an intern in the 2013 PRIME program at UCSD. In the spring and summer of 2013, Jesus began development on the JFG Haiku Hunt in collaboration with the BPOC, ISID, NICT, PRIME, and JFG.
Risks and challenges
In order to make sure the app runs efficiently and smoothly, BPOC will conduct beta testing prior to the project’s launch, and refine it based on user feedback. We will continue to update the app throughout the project, as needed, in response to feedback and in-app analytics. Additionally, we will purchase waterproof cases to protect each outdoor Place Sticker to ensure that the functionality is consistent, regardless of inclement weather.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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