Tales of the Park


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Locations of the creatures within the Park. Click on the red number to see details of that creature.

This art installation is now over

Please note: This art installation ran during 2017 and has now been removed from the Park.

What's this about?

Tales in the Park is part of a research project being conducted at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London. It uses geo-located 'chatbots' to provide a way for people to safely explore security, safety and trust around Internet of Things devices.

Chatbots have a long history in computing, the first being ELIZA, developed by Joseph Weizenbaum in 1966 at MIT; however, it’s only recent advances in computing power that have made them reliable enough for general purpose use, especially when combined with speech processing.

At present, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are all competing to develop speech and text-based interfaces for use both in the home and on the web. However, there are fundamental differences between a natural language interface and using a keyboard or touchscreen. With speech interfaces, the boundary between ‘using’ and ‘not using’ the device is blurred: for a device like Amazon Echo to function, for example, it needs to listen out for its activation keyword all the time - in other words, it's always listening.

Similarly, when engaging with chatbots on social media, it's not always clear whether you are interacting with a computer or a human, and there's lots of potential for people to inadverently explose sensitive information to people who might not have their best interests at heart.

Tales of the Park is a playful, safe way to explore some of these issues. As you interact with the Creatures using your smartphone, they ask you for information about the park, and in return they'll share what they know or what other people have said to them. They also remember you, and they talk about you with each other behind your back! We're interested in what people will say to the creatures, whether they trust them, and what sort of things they will share with them.



Tales of the Park is part of PETRAS, a multi-university research project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to explore Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability, and Security around the "Internet of Things". It is hosted by London Legacy Development Corporation and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


The Creature models were named and painted by members of Academy Achievers, a social enterprise based in Newham that helps young people to fulfill their potential.

They are: Darnell, Hawa, Ijlaal, Dontae, Khadijah, Elyas, Michael, Folios, Amina, Mahfuza, Sierra, Loreal, Muhammad, Marcus, and Michaela.

How to Play

Tales of the Park uses the ‘Physical Web’, a technology from Google which uses small, cheap devices called low-energy Bluetooth beacons to attach places and objects to the internet. If you're close enough to a beacon, and you've activated the Physical Web on your device, a web-link broadcast by the beacon will appear on your notifications screen. Tales in the Park uses this technology to link to a number of ‘chatbots’: a type of interface which allows people to interact with a computer using ordinary (or ‘natural’) language.

To start interacting with the chatbots, you need to make sure that you have opted in to the Physical Web on your device.

Android Phones

Instructions for Android can be found here.


If you’re using an iPhone, you'll need to make sure you have the Google Chrome browser installed. Once you’ve installed Chrome, you can get set up by following the instructions here.

When you’re near a Creature, check your notification screen. You should see a link through which you can begin talking to the chatbot (please note you may need to wait a few seconds for the link to appear).

Make sure you allow the Tales of the Park to set cookies and to know your location, otherwise it chatbots won't work!

Photo Gallery

Tales of the Park Creatures
(Click on an image to see a larger version)
Location (numbers refer to map above)/
Creature Name
Location Creature
1: Inside Information Point

Moonlight the Bat
TotP 01 L.jpg TotP 01 C.jpg
2: Public Entrance to London Aquatics Centre

Zac the Otter
TotP 02 L.jpg TotP 02 C.jpg
3: Outside The Common at the View Tube

Loki the Gnome
TotP 03 L.jpg TotP 03 C.jpg
4: Walkway to ArcelorMittal Orbit

Rosie the Bee
TotP 04 L.jpg TotP 04 C.jpg
5: Under Tallow Bridge at Canal Level

Shadow Blade the Bat
TotP 05 L.jpg TotP 05 C.jpg
6: Entrance to Hub67 by Hackney Wick

Gnomeo the Gnome
TotP 06 L.jpg TotP 06 C.jpg
7: Lower Entrance to Copper Box Arena

Beehigh the Bee
TotP 07 L.jpg TotP 07 C.jpg
8: Canalside at Here East

Wombat the Gnome
TotP 08 L.jpg TotP 08 C.jpg
9: In front of entrance to Main Press Centre building, Here East

Parker the Gnome
TotP 09 L.jpg TotP 09 C.jpg
10: Lea Valley Velodrome, by Santander Cycle Rack

Yusuf the Gnome
TotP 10 L.jpg TotP 10 C.jpg
11: Tumbling Bay Playground, on hill up to Olympic Rings

Goku the Bat
TotP 11 L.jpg TotP 11 C.jpg
12: Chobham Manor marketing suite entrance

Super Gnome the Gnome
TotP 12 L.jpg TotP 12 C.jpg
13: Timber Lodge Cafe

Khadija the Otter
Totp 13 L.jpg TotP 13 C.jpg
14: Wetlands

Denchu the Otter
TotP 14 L.jpg TotP 14 C.jpg
15: Victory Park, East Village

Jetpack Gnomey the Gnome
TotP 15 L.jpg TotP 15 C.jpg