Can playground usage be measured by an AI camera?

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Children’s play is more than just fun; it’s a fundamental part of their growth and well-being. Play knows no boundaries; it’s a self-chosen, creative act that unfolds in various places. One common destination for play and physical activity is the playground.

A vision for playground insights

Imagine a world where we effortlessly collect data on playground usage. With the integration of camera-based observations and artificial intelligence (AI), this vision could become reality.

Researchers have often relied on direct human observations, accelerometers, and GPS data to assess playground usage. However, these methods have limitations. They are resource-intensive, and often do not facilitate continuous, long-term measurements.

At World Playground Research Institute, we’re exploring the potential of camera-based observations with AI to overcome these challenges.

Unveiling playground usage through AI cameras

Camera-based observations offer the advantage of collecting data over extended periods, providing deep insights into playground usage patterns. This allows us to uncover trends, seasonal variations, and long-term shifts that might otherwise go unnoticed. Additionally, these camera-based observations, enable us to monitor multiple playgrounds simultaneously, even in different settings, from urban to rural areas, providing a comprehensive view.

Unlike direct human observations, camera-based methods are, potentially, discreet, allowing children’s behavior to remain natural. This might reduce the risk of bias, leading to more authentic data. Furthermore, AI cameras enhance accuracy and objectivity in data analysis, reducing potential human-induced biases.

The greater purpose

So, what’s our motivation, and what will society gain from it?

Consider your local kindergarten, school, or municipality, often working with limited resources. Building a new playground is a significant investment, and ensuring its value is crucial.

Understanding how playgrounds are used is key to making informed decisions. It guides the selection of the right equipment and design elements that align with children’s needs and preferences. This minimizes the risk of costly modifications or repairs post-construction, ensuring that the playground remains an asset to the institution and society.

Our focus on advancing playground research with AI cameras goes beyond improving playgrounds; it’s about enhancing children’s health and well-being. In today’s society, where concerns about children’s sedentary lifestyles, childhood obesity and mental health challenges are prevalent, well-designed playgrounds are more critical than ever.