For Immediate Release
SmartPants Media Releases New Educational Kiosks - "Virtual Me"
BALTIMORE, MD -June 1, 2001 - SmartPants Media Inc. announced today, the completion of their newest interactive kiosk project. Developed in collaboration with Training Solutions Interactive, I4Learning, and Florida's Department of Health, V-Me, short for Virtual Me, is an interactive, bilingual kiosk designed to teach teenagers about the dangers of smoking. Currently, V-Me kiosks are being deployed in schools and community centers throughout Dade County Florida.
The V-Me kiosk allows users to create their own animated character by utilizing an actual digitized picture of their face and selecting various clothing styles. Their character, V-Me, then participates in an animated reality program titled "Surviving the Box", in which a group of teenagers must accumulate information about smoking. "The Virtual Me concept," says Paul Fisher, President of SmartPants Media and Lead Software designer for the project, "is to get the user integrated into the multimedia experience. This factor is integral in personalizing the effects of tobacco to the kiosk users - normally, youth only visualize tobacco affecting others. V-Me lets them see what tobacco can do to them."
The software brings the user through four different episodes of the reality show. Each episode highlights a specific topic in anti-smoking education. These topics include Big Tobacco's marketing tactics and how they target children; peer pressure between teenagers; and diseases contracted from tobacco use. The effects of tobacco on the body are demonstrated using strong graphical images and detailed information about what tobacco does to the heart, lungs, brain, and body.
The V-Me experience was developed to be completely interactive. As users explore the program, they encounter a series of questions that measure their awareness of the effects associated with smoking, as well as the ubiquity of tobacco marketing and advertising tactics. Each question is an opportunity to earn points that are used to determine the ultimate fate of V-Me. In addition, kiosk users are given the opportunity, through video, to meet the people upon which the characters in the program are based. Video interviews with the users' peers are presented at different points program. "Integrating video clips of teenagers that have been affected by smoking brings a sense of reality to the software. Teenagers can relate to these experiences because they are presented by their own peers," Fisher says.
The V-Me kiosk includes an integrated database system that records the user's background and tracks each user's experience with the kiosk. The database system provides administrators with data for statistical analysis pertaining to the responses provided. This system also stores information such as content delivered to each user as well as which sections the user completed.
The Virtual Me kiosk will be installed in 50 different locations throughout Dade County.
About SmartPants Media
Based in Baltimore, SmartPants Media is an interactive software development company specializing in educational and informational products. SmartPants Media creates a wide range of projects, including powerful informational kiosks, DVDs, interactive CD-ROMs, distance learning applications and educational tools. SmartPants boasts a creative and ambitious team of graphic artists, programmers, designers, and producers all with extensive experience in the multimedia field.
For More Information on SmartPants Media visit
16 South Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202