“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” Thomas Edison
Media at its best has the ability to immerse us, interpret complex processes and make deep personal connections. The experiential media shown here present a range of ways innovative thinking has enabled our exhibitions to surprise, inspire, delight and move visitors of all ages.
Connecticut Science Center
For the Exploring Space and Sight & Sound Experience galleries, we investigated several innovative ways of using media, all aimed at providing the right balance between self-guided exploration and interpretation. Innovative media treatments for CSC range from individual components, to group interactives, to immersive pods designed for a pair of visitors. Visualization media is used extensively in Exploring Space, shown here, the only gallery we chose to darken in order to optimize presentation.
The Crater Maker component merges a physical event with interactive media. Visitors begin by shooting a projectile into a bed of fine powder, creating a crater. A high-speed camera shooting at 1,000 frames per second records the impact, saving image data to a computer system for retrieval. In playback mode, visitors are immediately able to replay their impact in slow motion, even frame by frame, using a knurled wheel to run forward or backward.
In the Galaxy Explorer, visitors blast off into space from the Connecticut Science Center, traveling to 5 destinations in and around the Milky Way that they have selected from a menu of 15. We worked with the world’s premiere aggregators of scientific astronomical data, the Swedish firm SCISS, creators of Uniview software, to create for the first time a way for individual visitors to control the breathtaking astronomical visualizations that have only been seen on planetarium domes.
Upon reaching each site on their journey, visitors use a joystick for a period of 30 seconds to explore celestial objects rendered real time as 3-D models. Interpretive narration provides context during the visually dramatic journey between each of the selected destinations.
The Galaxy Explorer’s multiple pods are each designed to comfortably accommodate two users at a time. This reflects the fact that most visitors do not come alone and that learning in informal education settings is enhanced through conversations between visitors. The shared control panel is designed to be extremely easily passed back and forth and used with either the left or right hand.
For the Sight & Sound Experience gallery, we developed a concept for a “faultless jamming” activity that lets visitors make harmonious music together on a group of novel interconnected electronic instruments. Key to the concept was that each fanciful instrument’s physical form would suggest how it might be played, and that user interfaces would be through touch and large-scale gesture. Audio, Video & Controls, New York, produced the final hardware and software.