As the final project for the Interaction Design Studio course taught at Carnegie Mellon we received a project brief from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH). The goal was to develop a multi-sensory museum experience that touches upon at least two of the following themes: experiential learning, information browsing, way finding and social interaction. We worked on the project for 6 weeks with a group of 4 students total.
Interaction Design Experience Design Physical prototyping Projection Mapping
Arduino Storytelling Augmented Reality User Interface Design
During this project we did user research at the museum and had close contact with the exhibit designer of CMNH. I was responsible for the storyline of the experience, the Arduino coding for the physical prototypes and facilitating brainstorm sessions.
An experience is better visualised than told, please watch our concept video for the complete user journey:
Our final design concept visualised the effect of climate change on vegetation by utilising deep time as a way to tell a story. By having visitors collect plants using AR throughout the existing museum exhibits we emphasised the importance of plants as part of the world ecosystems and that natural history is more than just dinosaurs! Also, by giving museum visitors different lenses to explore the natural history museum we increased engagement for returning visitors. After collecting the plants throughout the exhibits the users are invited to view their plant collection in the form of a deep time walk. Their collection is projected on the floor and tracks them as they physically walk through the different eras of natural history accompanied by an explanatory narration, ending in a reflection about the Antropocene.
Field research at the museum - talking to visitors and employees
Immersive technology exploration - part of the brief was to make it a multi sensory experience, we explored different technologies that could aid in achieving this: Virtual Reality (VR), Projection Mapping and Augmenten Reality (AR). We ended up settling for a combination of projection mapping and AR because we felt VR was too anti-social.
Deep Time Walk - research into the history of the earth to be able to tell a story that is true to the facts.
Prototyping - Arduino coding & building the circuit.
Spatial Design - we had to work within existing space, to make the changes we envisioned come to life we created a 3D model of the space.
Video Production - we wanted our video to be as real as possible, by working with physical prototypes we were able to realise that. However, we were not allowed to shoot at the museum which meant we had to recreate the space as close to reality as possible. This was quite tricky but after 5 takes in 2 different spaces we finally found a room and lighting that worked. We even ended up painting the circles onto the floor by hand!
View our medium blog for more information about our process.