Oakley Park becomes Lansing’s first ‘smart playground’

Biba app offers ways for families to combine new and old technologies

by Natalie Togtman and Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (June 8, 2019) – The Lan Oak Park District has added a new “destination” park to their portfolio of parks with special features. Oakley Park, located on Oakley Avenue and 186th Street, now features an app called Biba Playground that allows children aged 3–9 and their parents to use technology to explore the park.

The game encourages kids to interact with the playground equipment, such as the slide, swings, and stairs. Users can pick different characters to “locate” by following directions, such as “go to the swings.” Once the child has arrived at the swings, they click a button that says “I have arrived,” and they receive a character. The character requires some attention, such as being painted, or being given a bath.

Reality markers are installed throughout Oakley Park. (Photo: Natalie Togtman)
Transforming Oakley Park into a smart playground required the installation of “reality markers” in the park. The Biba description explains that the Biba system “needs low maintenance, and doesn’t require any electricity, lighting, or other special modifications. Once the ruggedized augmented reality markers are mounted, the system is good for the life of your playground.”

The app is free and can be downloaded from iTunes or Google Play.

Oakley Park is “a little bit hard to find,” says Sharon Desjardins, Senior Superintendent of Strategy & Operations with Lan Oak Park District. “Take Torrence to 185th, turn left, take 185th to Oakley, turn left—playground is at the end of the street.”

Articles about other “Destination Parks” in Lansing

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