Universal Play Machine is an installation of five giant mechanical flipbooks sited in the forest of New Hampshire USA, all built by BEAM Campers (ages 10 – 17). BEAM Camp is a summer school that powers youth development and learning with creation, collaboration and educator professional development. Campers learn to collaborate and create while learning skills in welding, physical computing, carpentry, ceramics, textiles, video, programming and design.
Mobile Studio Architect’s winning proposal, Universal Play Machine, for BEAM Camp summer 2016 is a bespoke and adaptable kinetic sculpture that is also a device for learning – not only in the process of its creation but also in how it can be interacted with when complete.
Essentially an oversized flipbook, the system scales up the split-flap display technology first used in airports and train-stations across the world. Exaggerating the analogue nature of the technology, Universal Play Machine has the capacity to rotate through a sequence of images created and powered by campers.
With more than 500 still images traced and colours painstakingly applied by hand the campers brought to life five animations of avian behaviour inspired by the incredible forest setting. As far as we know, these are the world’s largest mechanical flipbooks ever made!