Headed South: Bringing Motion Sense to Life Through Play

by ustwo

Inspired by how games can help people master new technology, ustwo and Google created a strikingly beautiful and entertaining app called Headed South. Described by Fast Company [https://bit.ly/2Ry0rng] as a “masterclass in world-building,” the app gracefully introduces Pixel 4 users to Google’s new radar-powered Motion Sense technology. Motion Sense allows users to control their mobile phone without touching the screen, via simple hand gestures like a swipe or wave. In the experience, users play the role of a bird named Soli, learning tricks and new gestures as they fly with different flocks. The free soaring and flight expression are controlled by touch and gestures combined, and the story is brought to life in vividly illustrated scenes. To make the gesture-based interaction feel right, ustwo used a combination of visual, sound, and haptic feedback, and ensured the experience offered a sense of control without being overwhelming. Alongside the mechanics, ustwo created design concepts that complemented this sense of movement and created a sense of progression while flying through the world. Uniting the best of games and UX design for emerging tech, ustwo and Google created an engaging experience that establishes an intuitive way of interacting with a new technology.


Mobile Design of the Year 2020

Gold in Mobile App 2020

Gold in Mobile Interaction & Experience 2020

Gold in Innovative Use of Mobile Technology 2020

Created by:

Design Director

Anders Oscarsson

Design Company



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Google Advanced Technology and Projects

Design Team

Google Design Team: Alex Lee, Leonardo Giusti, Lauren Bedal, Devon Stern. ustwo Design Team: Anders Oscarsson, Kevin Harper, Sam En...


Entrant Companies

ustwo, US


ustwo, US

Individual Credits

Leonardo Giusti, Google
Michael Bourbeau, ustwo
Steven Ibara, Google