Museums can be boring for some, you’re essentially just walking around and looking at exhibitions. When Inquisition and SiGNL were tasked to create an interactive digital museum for a specialist bank, I knew we had an opportunity to create some fun tech. Interactive tech makes the experience more exciting and fun!
We spent a lot of time custom designing and building various pieces of tech using a variety of tools including 3D printers and laser cutters.
A big part of the experience was also the post-visit experience. Imagine you saw something cool and wanted more information on it. You could make a mental note of it to google later on, but would probably forget about it before you left the museum. We wanted a way that people could ‘tag’ certain parts that they found interesting and would’ve like to have more information on.
The experience started with a physical ‘passport’ that had an embedded NFC sticker. The NFC tag was linked to your name/email and off you went. For the various exhibitions we created custom NFC readers that you could just tap with your ‘passport’ and at the end of the event we had a list of people that indicated what they were interested in. This not only allowed us to track how people moved through the exhibition but also what they found interesting.
The NFC reader was a custom 3d printed gadget that had a built-in NFC reader and Wifi connectivity. This allowed us to place these almost wireless (they still needed power) readers anywhere.
This worked a lot better than for example a clipboard where people can add their names for more info. It was simple and unobtrusive and it kept the flow of people moving without them missing out on the fun.
“Cyber Room” Props
A part of the exhibition was the “Cyber Room” where we had various props that demonstrated certain technology such as Face Recognition, Touch Scanners and voice recognition.
We designed all of these props and 3d printed them. Add some electronics and you have some very realistic pieces that illustrate the technology. These props were all linked to various high definition displays that changed according to the interaction withthe prop. These props were all wireless embedded devices, except for the face recognition prop that used a computer with some smart scripts to detect faces.
These (and all of our other 3d printed items) were designed in Fusion 360 CAD and 3d printed on a FDM 3d printer.
One of the themes of the event was Human/AI interaction. To illustrate this we made a robot arm that you could play Tic-Tac-Toe against.
The AI was very simplistic with some basic game playing algorithms, but it carried the point across perfectly. We don’t need to fear AI/Robots and machines, but rather use them to learn and improve ourselves.
It was interesting to see how participants played against the AI. Most of the games played ended in a draw, but we had also had people win some and some lose against the AI.
The tic-tac-toe robot was made from various materials, and the game pieces were picked up by using a suction gripper on the robot arm.
One of my favourite pieces was our ‘SiGNL’ Robot mascot. We have made a few 3d printed versions of it before, but this time around we could add some electronics. We ended up with something that looked a bit more alive :)
We added a small computer with a nice LCD screen for displaying videos and animations.
With over 100 hours of printing, it was huge and stood about 0.5m high. We are planning a lot more improvements for him so this won’t be the last time you see ‘SiGNL’ ;)
Apart from the above mentioned tech we also have looping video screens, interactive games and more. Most of these were powered by the Raspberry PI computer. These are great low cost computers for these kind of projects. We had more than 25 of them running full time during the event.
As you might have guessed we love 3d printing and had a 3d printer printing during the event. We also had lots of 3d printed items to show of various things you can do with 3d printing, including the variety of materials available.
This was a fun event and it really allowed us to have fun with the technology and create new awesome things!