So, a few days ago, we posted the new interface/augmented reality project by Fujitsu Laboratories. This offers some interesting ideas for integrating augmented reality into museum exhibition environments. Now we have a new one to take a look at.
Here is another new digital interface that offers more fascinating ways to interact with digital information. AquaTop turns a pool of water into an interactive, three-dimensional digital interface surface.
AquaTop is a projection system that uses something like bath salts to create a white water screen surface. (Most likely, other substances could work as well.) The other components include a sensor system (in this case, Kinect), a projector, lighting control, and interactive programming. The system won the Grand Prize at Laval Virtual this year.
There is something intuitive and pleasing about the physicality of water and the common digital “touch” interface. Makes one wonder what other actions we might develop if we projected on water more often.
One particularly fascinating thing about AquaTop is that it directly and visually demonstrates multiple points of interface – for example, by showing visible markers when someone touches the surface with multiple fingers – from under the surface! We’re also intrigued about using other sensor systems and how we might manipulate things like waves or other physical water phenomena. We can also imagine some truly creative and fun ways to incorporate this technology into a water play area or other water related exhibit.
AquaTop has some similar attirbutes to the posting we had about 3d projections. You can check out that earlier post here.
What ideas do you have? We’d love to hear what you’re imagining.
A shout-out to Louise Julie Bertrand who pointed us to this project – thank you.
This piece done in Linz, Austria allowed experiencers to get the view of feeling of walking amongst the clouds that might fill the sky. The installation uses high pressure pumps and fog nozzles. What a special experience this might be to have as part of an institution from a aviation museum, children’s museum to an exhibition on weather, birds or even dreaming.
The second piece is “fluff” an interactive lighting system from the Japanese design studio tangent.
This interactive lighting display made from balloons (1.1 meters in diameter) and LEDs changes its appearance according to sound and video displays. What immediately came to mind was to use this to create the feeling of being beneath the waves surrounded by “jellies” or as an evocative space to discuss the idea of different forms of life such as what might evolve on a gas giant.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our field’s exhibition spaces would focus as much on this type of inspiration as they often do on curricula or education.
As technologies develop, the interaction and interplay between the physical world and the digital world become more enmeshed. Certainly, this is an area of continual development and exploration in exhibition design – in particular in dealing with what has traditionally been 2D graphics. Recently there has been a proliferation of moving away from physically printed panels to providing digital touch panels that take advantage of what the digital medium can provide.
A twist that suggests a different approach, or one that offers interesting differences, is the new system generated by Fujitsu Laboratories , which is an augmented reality user interface.
How this might be used in an exhibit/exhibition medium is a fascinating thought. Rather than incorporating a light-emitting screen, one could still create physical graphics that have a hidden overlay of depth or could be sampled to a “digital scrapbook” without the need for any screen. In addition, the idea of other printed material, of physically built material, or even artifacts having direct interplay with such a system is exciting to contemplate. From a design perspective,
what is nice about this approach is the clarity and simplicity of the interface and the design, as well as the invisibility of the technology with the physical object.
Finally, it also turns around the whole augmented reality approach. Rather than the added information requiring viewing on a digital device, it instead becomes part of the very physical object one is manipulating.
So, every once in a while we run across an interactive that just delights and makes us say “What a fun time.” Here is one that was on display last year in Brooklyn that was too much fun. You might have seen it. Check out Wildbytes’ “Super Heroes” piece.
One point to think about that makes this much better than any other “blue screen” experience is the immense scale of the activity. As mentioned in previous posts, scale is often overlooked in our field’s approach to tabletop, individual or small group exhibition design.
Often science centers and other museums look to engage people about how to understand different aspects of phenomena in three dimensional space on two dimensional displays (screens, graphics etc.).
What we often do not do is represent the three dimensional space in actual 3D space, allowing us to present the phenomena’s behavior in more powerful ways.
But since we are three dimensional creatures possibly this is the best way to understand or appreciate 3d space and what occurs there – seen or unseen.
Here are two examples that certainly one can riff on that made us think about this. The first is FLUIDIC by WHITEvoid.
Using 12,000 suspended spheres, a camera that senses the viewer and eight high speed lasers it creates an almost magical experience. We believe that being illuminated by laser light adds something special. Certainly a concept programmed to both enchant but to do so mimicking certain scientific phenomena could be impactful. By the way want to see this in person? Go to the Temporary Museum for New Design in Milan where it will be on display through April 14th.
This piece includes 8,064 spheres and LED lit. It too responds to visitors. This time though it’s possible to enter the space. Imagine explaining crystal structure, data movement or some other unseen movement through 3D space. You can see this at the Gallery ROM for Art and Architecture in Oslo, Norway
Often we fixate the on screens as the visual way to present information. What we may need to do more of is dedicate more space and create 3D spaces to represent 3D phenomena. We feel this creates an experience and opportunity that in fact is more powerful that what we have normally done.
If you know of more examples send them to us here on the blog.
So, with another snowfall here at the studio yet again our thoughts turned to spring and the upcoming summer. With that in mind, we share with you this simple but evocative experience that could be at home at an art, science, or children’s museum.
21 Swings by daily tous les jours a design studio with a focus on participation. This piece takes what we what have as field have done countless times (musical stairs or giant keyboards) and adds a complexity element (different series of notes) and also adds the element of group participation, which can be sometimes hard in other musical experiences. It should be pointed out that this experience is part of the “empathiCITY, making our city together” exhibition at the 2013 biennale internationale design saint-etienne.
daily tous les jours has done some other interesting pieces that might be of interest. Check out the these:
There are often experiences or demonstrations that just cry out for someone to use them as an inspiration for an interactive exhibit. Here is one that we are experimenting with here At ALCHEMY studio for a local fabricator to bring to a science center near you.
This experiment/demonstration was done by Brusspup. It involves not only making sure the device is constructed correctly but also viewing it with a camera that is in sync with the sound. What is clear is that it’s possible to create a very interesting experience demonstrating several science principles in which one side of the exhibit seems like somewhat chaotic water movement but the other side seems to reveal a “frozen in time” moment.
If you are interested in our investigation of this phenomenon/experience and would like to explore what we are doing and perhaps acquiring some version of what we com up with drop us a line.
A special shout out!
And, as always, if you have something you think we should share, send it to us.We should mention we recently got several submittals from fans of inspiration weeklies. We’ll be rolling these out over the next few weeks with our own examples of things that are inspiring us and making us think about the experiences we find in our informal learning lives.
Some of the exhibits that have always seemed to suck us into mesmerizing states of fascination have actually been interactive (and at times non-interactive) large-scale wall experiences. Recently, we have become aware of two that should get your brain turning and will no doubt “spin off” countless ideas. (Pardon the pun, which you’ll understand when you see these.) The first is a work by the design group called Humans Since 1982. This is called “A Million Times.”
Made with clocks (a subtle time-related experience, connected in this way to the melting piece Calamidad Cósmica), this piece can create messages and depict complex patterns and fields, suggesting many ideas for riffing and evoking many related ideas and aspects. A system like this could be responsive to viewers or to objects such as magnets or other more technological EM transmitters (i.e. cell phones anyone?). This could be a beautiful way to engage people in some complex ideas. On its onw it’s a beautiful, evocative piece.
Here, what interests us is that fact that this interactive piece is different than, say, “Pipe Dream” by Bruce Shapiro
or the work of Daniel Rozin (like this at the Perot Museum).
“Flow 5.0” actually sends something physical back to the viewer – moving air. This could open up other ideas about what else could touch the viewer/user that they might explore or appreciate.
Certainly, with both the physical and visual interactive and non-interactive wall experiences, there is ample material and inspiration to evoke some truly immersive and memorable museum visits, not to mention make many buildings more engaging.
Let us know about more if you run across them. What ideas do these spin off?
To combat the winter blahs this week our inspiration takes us back to playing with scale but with a little levity. As we have mentioned before, playing with scale is both an artist’s as well as a designer’s invaluable tool. While used as a sense of awe, its role in creating humor and fun – a moment of levity in a serious world or serious museum “environment” – should perhaps be explored more often. Here are two favorites that have passed by our desk this week.
The first is the great installation called “Bad Dog” (we need to admit that ALCHEMY studio has two office Labradors).
Yes, that’s yellow paint that get sprayed on the museum wall. Check out the public’ reaction through this local tv story!
These giant popsicles are intended to have viewers reflect on the process of time elapsing. Of course, they also evoke the fun and memories that such items have played in one’s life. Surely an exhibit such as this would be great fun in a children’s museum or as a surprise encounter in an outside gallery.
Be sure to send us your fun encounters with scale and look for some upcoming inspirations sparked by ideas about time.
Amazing 3D projection projects – Moving from informational to expression.
In the museum and experience context, the idea of projection to convey information is a common occurrence. Here at the studio we are looking to explore how the projection itself - not the content of the projection – can be used to excite, awe, and engage the public in ways maybe no one thought it could. You might say these are “engagement screens.”
On side of the scale, where the projection is “complete” but the screen invites interactivity, is this novel and cool “water” projection by art studio Red Paper Heart.
Wow made us want to dive right in.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the screen’s inability to express the complete image is the beauty and allure of this experiment that Brian Mafftt did during the recent “Nemo” winter storm. Funny, in reality it also uses “water” like the above example – just in a different form.
In fact, you can tell it’s a DLP projector by the red, green and blue “sparkles” – a wonderful way of showing how a projection image is composed of these colors. You can see some of his still images here.
Now, of course, we have seen images projected on fog and images made of water, but there is something compelling about both of these and the fact that the “screen” itself can be the power of a projected experience versus the image projected. Obviously, a powerful experience would be to marry both of them. If you have other examples or ideas, please feel free to share them here.