• In the Grip of Change

    Visitor explore the relationship between collection items

An arctic Collection Viewer presents surprising connections to museum visitors

Unexpected Connections

One of the most exciting aspects of multitouch technology is that it allows multiple visitors to interact simultaneously. Using Ideum’s own Collection Viewer, Ideum created an application that allows multiple users to view connections between seemingly disparate media objects. These connections extend to the visitors, who may find the object they’re viewing connected to an object controlled by a stranger across the table, leading to social interactions as well as virtual ones.

The Collection Viewer is a multitouch-enabled image and video application that includes collection information such as description, titles, copyright, and author information. Ideum worked closely with the Vancouver Aquarium to extend this application by developing a relationship engine. It effectively adds a visual tether line between media objects. For the Vancouver Aquarium, this feature allows visitors to see connections between seemingly unrelated media objects. For example, satellite animations showing receding ice are connected to images of the wildlife affected.

The software allows for omni-directional interaction. A small group of people can interact simultaneously, approaching the table from any direction. Media objects appear on in different places and orientations on the table randomly and will disappear if they are not interacted with. The exhibit is ever changing and never appears the same way twice, making the exhibit new and engaging on each visit. This exhibit is part of Vancouver Aquarium’s Canada’s Arctic – In the Grip of Change exhibition.

The Collection Viewer exhibit runs on Ideum’s own MT-50 multitouch table. This high-resolution ruggedized table is built specifically for high-traffic environments like the Vancouver Aquarium. The table is built of aircraft-grade aluminum, powder-coated steel panels, and anti-glare, “haptic” tempered glass.

A basic version of the Collection Viewer is included with the MT-50 multitouch table. The Collection Viewer software can be easily populated with images and videos. An XML structure allows the Vancouver Aquarium to easily change images or video and update descriptive information.

The software was developed with Adobe Flash and Ideum’s Open Exhibits (formerly GestureWorks Flash) framework, which allows Flash developers to easily develop their own custom multitouch applications.

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