PLAY LAB: a digital playground in Cebu

By Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo |December 06,2017 - 10:20 PM

(CDN PHOTO/Christian Maningo)

There is a place in Cebu which can spark creativity and arouse curiosity in children in an atmosphere of fun and play.

Inside PlayLab, the Philippines’ first digital playground, children are not passive customers of an idiot box. They are active creators, builders and players of a playground designed with digital technology as a platform of fun and learning.

My twins Nicholas and Antoinette were among the first set of guests who were given first access to the PlayLab and what an experience it was for my pair of bouncing four-year-old mutants.

Located on The Greens Level 1 of Robinsons Galleria Cebu, PlayLab is a treat to children and their entourage of family members who are in search for a different experience.

Senior Vice President-Commercial Centers Division of Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) Arlene Magtibay said the PlayLab is a concept that
the management decided to include in the mall ecosystem as they believe that the mall is not only a place for shopping but also a venue for family bonding.

Arlene Magtibay said the PlayLab is a concept that the management decided to include in the mall ecosystem as they believe that the mall
is not only a place for shopping but also a venue for family bonding.

Playlab is designed for children three to 10 years old but also welcomes “kids at heart.”

It features high-tech gadgets, unlimited adventures and exciting games which are meant to educate, amaze and inspire children.

There are 14 attractions to enjoy, each designed to be interactive and fun.

Entrance fee is P200 on weekdays and P250 on weekends. An opening promo rate of P150 is offered until Dec. 15.

Do not forget to wear your socks when entering PlayLab. Shoes are deposited on racks with corresponding numbers
assigned to you.

We entered PlayLab with the twins along with our trusted Ate Joy.

Nicholas went straight to the first attraction, SensaCell, which are touch-sensitive light modules.

You tap one module and it lights up. Ate Joy stayed on for Nick to enjoy this attraction while I ran to the 14th attraction, Slide, which easily became the subject of Antoinette’s attention.

In the next 30 minutes, I had trouble counting how many times Antoinette said “Again!” after every time she slides off the projected jungle with interactive visual projections and sensors of exotic fish, budding plants and cool water.

Nicholas was busy making space rockets in the Tangram station and Antoinette stayed on for more sliding action at the Slide so I decided to take a seat at the Live Forrest and pick a sheet with an animal printout. I chose an owl. This is not just a coloring station though.

After coloring your animal, hand it to a PlayLab staff positioned on the side of the large boards where animals digitally roam.

Your colored animal will be scanned and just like magic, that animal will appear on the screen flying or walking or jumping.

It is amazing how colored creations are transformed into digital realities!

Another favorite is called Save the Reef, where there is a large projection of a reef with sea creatures going about their routine until trash appears threatening to destroy marine life.

Children can help save the reef by using soft balls made available in the station and throw them at the trash/garbage. They disappear when they are hit.

(CDN PHOTO/Christian Maningo)

Nicholas, our handsome geek who loves nature shows, stayed on this attraction for 20 minutes and had a lot to say about how trash pollutes the ocean.

At Light Bright, the twins spent time to recreate letters of the alphabet with the help of translucent, acrylic pegs which glows in the dark. Antoinette got scared at the World of Zodiacs.

Employing facial recognition and augmented reality, any person who steps right infront of the board becomes an animal from the zodiac signs. She cried seeing herself as a rabbit on the board.

Nicholas later approached and appeased her that she remains as “my pretty cute Antoinette sister.”

The crying stopped.

The Music Wall wrapped up my children’s first PlayLab experience. We tapped on various musical instruments which made exact sounds. One Dad played “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and my children sang while he played.

We went out of the PlayLab for chocolate treats courtesy of The Chocolate Chamber.

There were several children and parents/guardians lining up for their turn to enter PlayLab.

While I still prefer my children to play with grass and dirt and make spaceships from cardboard boxes, Robinson Galleria Cebu’s attempt to open a digital playground with the mission to educate, inspire and amaze is not without its fair share of success and innovation in this early phase of operation.

PlayLab is about utilizing digital technology in a manner that does not turn children into robots which are bombarded with data that they need to learn.

PlayLab enables children to move, think, understand, create and build.

This is digital technology used in a platfrom that truly benefits the next generation.

PlayLab’s 14 attractions

1. SensaCell
Your touch can light up the whole space—tap these touch-sensitive light modules and play around with a whole myriad of colors!

2. Quantum Space
Catch a glimpse of yourself in the cosmos and create abstract art with every move. The colors of the universe come alive in this interactive video projection.

3. Music Wall
Love to play music? This interactive projection lets you toot your own horn, or march to the beat of your own drum—whatever that sounds like!

4. Tangram
Soar through space in your own, unique rocket ship! Craft it using all sorts of shapes, and press LAUNCH to start your next galactic adventure!

5. Save the Reef
Mother Nature needs your help to keep our reefs from being polluted! Save the day using innovative visual technology, and keep our waters trash-free.

6. Room Racers
Create a DIY obstacle course in this solo or group racing game, and bring it to life with the help of wireless controllers, a projector, and an infrared camera!

7. Butterfly Wall
Ever wanted to design your own butterfly? With high-impact scanning and full animation, your butterfly drawings fly off the paper and go up into the screen!

8. World of Zodiacs
Engage in a little astrological fun! With facial recognition and augmented reality, you’ll get a complete zodiac transformation.

9. Sand Box
Sandbox adventures are about to get way more exciting! With 3D cameras and augmented reality, every dig reveals a thrilling new layer!

10. Head Rush
You’ll have to think fast in this obstacle course! Mind your speed, outrun your opponents, and fly past hurdles in a crazy, holographic 3D battleground.

11. Light Bright
If you’re an artist, it’s time to upgrade that easel! Craft your next masterpiece with this light installation, and watch it glow with translucent, acrylic pegs.

12. Growth Chart
No tiptoeing here! Get accurate results from this hi-tech height chart that uses sensors to measure just how tall you really are.

13. Live Forest
Go green and fill up this forest with your favorite animals! With high-impact scanning and full animation, you can bring your colored creations into digital reality.

14. Slide
Take the plunge and slide down a projected jungle—interactive visual projections and sensors will take you to see the exotic fish, the budding plants, and the cool water!

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