Open Exhibits - Blog



Creating Museum Media for Everyone

Next week, myself and Charles Veasey from the Open Exhibits project will be attending a week-long workshop focusing on accessibility issues in computer-based interactives held at the Museum of Science in Boston.  The project, Creating Museum Media for Everyone is a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored collaborative that involves the Museum of Science, WGBH's National Center of Accessible Media (NCAM), and Ideum (the lead organization in Open Exhibits).  Here's a short description of what the Creating Museum Media for Everyone is about...

The project will demonstrate that the project team can design and develop digital interactive museum exhibit devices that work for visitors who have a wide range of disabilities. The outcome will be one "exemplar" exhibit based on an exhibit scenario where museum visitors learn STEM concepts by manipulating and analyzing real data. The project will also develop and test the efficacy of a prototype Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Toolkit that will help other museum professionals implement the digital interactive strategies.

The workshop is going to explore a number of topics, and small groups are going to explore different approaches to make computer-based exhibits more accessible to visitors who have disabilities. Groups are looking at haptic interfaces, data sonification, and strategies surrounding the personalization of computer-based interfaces (allowing for preferred formats of audio, graphics and text). 

A group that Charles and I will be working in is looking at create descriptive audio layers that can be incorporated in multitouch and multiuser exhibits. We are going to demo a prototype of this feature and do some user testing. The idea is that a specific gesture, like a three-fingered hold on object would trigger and audio description. This new feature may find its way into the Open Exhibits framework in next few months. We will blog about the workshop next week and we will post some images as well. Let us know if you have questions or comments about the project or accessibility issues.

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by Jim Spadaccini View all posts by Jim Spadaccini on May 18, 2012

Ghosts in Armour at Santa Fe Complex

Ghost in Armour

An ongoing international art project exploring a declining industry, 'Ghosts in Armour' opens at the Santa Fe Complex on May 25th.

The project is described as "a multi-disciplinary artistic exploration into the emerging post-industrial landscapes of Europe’s declining steel industry, documenting and contextualizing the losses currently shaping a number of communities." The project showcases the work of of over 20 European artists.

Using Open Exhibits software, visitors to the Complex will be able to curate their own exhibition. The exhibit will use an Ideum multitouch table and projectors to allow visitors to immerse themselves at locations that the project has previously explored.

You can learn more about Ghosts in Armour on the SF_X website. The exhibition runs from May 25th until June 1st.

Santa Fe Complex is a community organization that supports project-based teams working on important and interesting problems. We build and apply powerful digital tools, drawing on New Mexico’s expertise in complexity science and visualization. We are dedicated to advancing careers in science, technology and the humanities for New Mexico’s students. Learn more.

Update May 29, 2012: You can see a video of the Ghost in Armour installation on Vimeo.

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by Jim Spadaccini View all posts by Jim Spadaccini on May 15, 2012

How-to Make A Captive Portal

Last year we designed a captive portal implementation for Heist, an experimental project that used Open Exhibits, GestureWorks, and Sensus server technology to enable effortless networking. The system allowed digital museum objects to be heisted from the exhibit using a mobile device.

Heist used a WiFi captive portal; as museum visitors connected to the network they were pushed an HTML 5 application. They simply added their name, chose a color and their personal avatar appeared on the table.

Heist has been abandoned in pursuit of other projects; however, it continues to receive attention. We often get asked how we designed the captive portal. Rather than have our notes sit in a dusty storage cabinet, we're offering them to the Open Exhibits community. You'll have to excuse the rough draft document; it was never meant to be a formal guide. Nevertheless we think some people will find it useful. 

See the Heist research page for more information and a link to the document:

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by Charles Veasey View all posts by Charles Veasey on May 14, 2012

Playsurface: Low-Cost Multi-Touch Table

Templeman Automation (TA) is excited to announce its Playsurface multi-touch table Kickstarter. Playsurface is an inexpensive projection touch table for multiple users.  TA is excited about the possibilities associated with using touch tables along with software products like Open Exhibits and Ideum's GestureWorks to get more touch tables into educational and home environments.

The Kickstarter project is intended to raise capital for electronics development and an initial production run.

The Playsurface is based on technologies previously developed by TA for business, educational, and logistics collaboration.

Visit the Playsurface kickstarter project here!

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by Michael White View all posts by Michael White on May 7, 2012

Papers Section of the Open Exhibits Site Updated

The papers section of the Open Exhibits website has be reworked and expanded. There are dozens of research papers and articles focusing on natural user interface, accessibility, user experience, UI design, evaluation, multitouch techniques, and more. 

We hope you find this evolving resource helpful. We will continue to add papers to the site and we encourage contributions from community members.

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by Jim Spadaccini View all posts by Jim Spadaccini on Apr 29, 2012
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