We've come a long way from Tamagotchi. A company called teamLab has launched a play center called the "Sketch Aquarium," where kids can design a fish and then interact with it in a virtual tank. It's adorable — and very mad sciencey.
This new self-dubbed "future park" offers children an alternative to the Japanese education system—which tends to emphasize rote memorization—by providing them with an opportunity to become more creative through collaboration.
Here's how it works: First, children choose a template of the fish that they want to see swim in the aquarium and color it however they like. After scanning the completed drawing, their fish appear on a giant screen and start swimming around. The images are programmed to move like real fish, undulating and changing direction in the water. (Fish of the same type will sometimes create schools and swim together.) Adding a playful, interactive element to the display, a piece of food will appear when children get close to the digital screen, causing the fish to swarm.
"Currently, the Sketch Aquarium is only open for limited periods of time at certain locations throughout Japan," reports RocketNews24. "Let's hope that as word spreads more permanent locations will be announced!"