With the advent of engaging games and continuous technological innovation, children and adults have access to resources for constant learning. Word search puzzles are a great educational tool and a fun way to learn new words. This project takes word search puzzles a step ahead and makes it an interactive learning platform on the Microsoft Hololens.
The first prototype is a 2D game developed using the Unity Game Engine. It provides a randomly generated list of words from a pre-defined “wordpool”. The grid is also populated with a mixed selection of letters combined with the words from our list. These words will be hidden either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The game provides users information about each word when it is correctly identified on the grid. For example, if the word “brain” has been successfully selected on the word grid, an image of the human brain appears on the screen. There is additional text to provide a few facts about the human brain. These words could consist a simple list of “Ant, Bat, Cat” for pre-school children or introduce “Aphakia, Bionics, Collimation” to adults who love science!
Here is a video of the test prototype developed and deployed on the hololens:
The current version has some obvious issues that will be fixed. The letter selection feature is inconsistent when used on the Hololens, specifically when the words are diagonally placed. Another issue is the size and placement of the screen. If the window is placed far from the user to introduce larger fonts, it becomes further hard to choose from a straight line. The fonts should also maintain an optimal size to ensure they are visible in the constrained field of vision on the Hololens. This restricts the location of the screen to a designated zone. To ensure that incorrect letters are not chosen, the algorithm would include a check on the direction of the letters chosen and disregard any letters that deviate from the horizontal, vertical or diagonal path.
The next prototype would introduce an option to hear facts about the words using audio. It would also substitute images with animations. This would provide users with an interesting learning module to further their understanding of different concepts in science, math or any other subject. The possibilities are endless.
The final prototype will be a 3D game, instead of 2D. Learning from interactive holograms and providing engaging educational tools will encourage users, young and old, to discover and progress in their field of choice.
Code (Github): https://github.com/nkalavak/HoloWordSearch