Every year, Laix, my former employer, holds a hackathon competition to encourage participants to develop an innovative product in a very short time. In 2018, I participated in this hackathon, and “Kung Fu Mouth” was the work that our team completed during the period.
In China, English pronunciation bothers many people, and we find that pronunciation accuracy is closely related to the mouth shape. Therefore, our company developed an ability to track the user’s mouth dynamics through the camera to determine whether the user’s mouth shape meets the standard requirements.
In the hackathon, our team decided to use this technology to do something interesting.
“Here is a scene, placing the mouth model in the scene, an organ is nearby the mouth. Whenever the mouth reaches a certain shape, the lips touch an organ and a series of reactions occur. What if the organ is related to the standard mouth shape of the pronunciation?”
When I put this idea forward, everyone thought it was very interesting, so we decided to use my idea to go forward.
We decided to call this game “Kung Fu Mouth”, because we feel that training mouth shape is like training for kung fu with the mouth.
In this game, the user controls a mouth model. At each level, the user has to speak a phonetic symbol, and the mouth shape is correct while the pronunciation is in progress. When the user’s pronunciation plus mouth shape meets the pass conditions, the mouth model can just touch the nearby organ, let a ball fall into a hole, and then pass. If the mouth amplitude is too small, it will not touch the organ. If the amplitude is too large, the ball will not fall into the hole accurately.
For the next three days, I was the only designer on the team, responsible for 3D modeling, rendering, and UI design. Although the game was not fully realized due to time, the demo was enough to convey our ideas and concepts.Finally, we won the creative award.