The Jonathan Merage Foundation and Denver Botanic Gardens partnered to bring to life a projection interactive at the Science Pyramid in Denver. By utilizing Kinect 3D motion sensing technology and large-scale projection mapping on the large interior wall, visitors can better understand the cause and effect of ecology, climate, geography, and weather. The interactive model highlights the Chinook wind phenomenon that is common within the plains east of the Rocky Mountains. Chinook winds are dry, warm downslope winds that occur when air currents pass across mountain ranges. While these winds are found across the world, the largest north-south natural barrier in the world, the Rocky Mountains, makes Denver residents more familiar with the volatile weather changes these winds can bring about.
Visitors are able to actually make the weather changes occur by utilizing their hands, which are then tracked by the projection system. A person has the ability to raise the Rocky Mountains, start the westerly winds, and then explore all of the different elements brought about by these winds. They can create snow, make swirling clouds appear over the mountains, create rushing downslope winds, and engage winds that travel across the plains. The Projection Interactive display has been successful at engaging the younger demographic and increasing their interest in the sciences, especially weather. “… it resonates on so many levels activating the space, unique, informal engagement of science learners and expanding the Gardens’ capacity for other digital initiatives,” stated Claire Lanier from the Denver Botanic Gardens.