Do you ever wish museum visitors could touch an object to get a sense of its weight, texture, and mass? New advances in haptics and virtual reality technology bring us closer to that reality for museums.Â California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology engineers Tom Defanti and Greg Dawe’s have created a heads-up virtual reality device (HUVR) that combines a consumer 3D HDTV panel with a half-silvered mirror to project any graphic image onto the user’s hands or into the space surrounding them. The user maneuvers a âtouch-feedback â or ‘haptic’ â device to interact with the image, literally ‘touching’ the image’s angles and contours as if it was a tangible 3D object.Â A head-tracking device determines the user’s position, to make sure the object is rendered in the correct perspective view.â
Learn more to get a sense of how it works.
Who ever said that the decorative arts were boring?Â Augmented Reality (AR) has proven a new way to allow visitors to interact with and explore one of the J .Paul Getty Museumâs most complex and intricate objects,Â a 17th-century display cabinet from Augsburg, Germany.Â The cabinet of curiosities has a series of complex doors and drawers that in a typical museum display are inaccessible, however, using the cutting edge AR technology, access to the compartments is simulated for the viewer.
Using a webcam and a printout of the AR marker, a user may spin, tilt, and interact with the cabinet. To experience the Augmented Reality technology, and explore the Augsburg Display Cabinet, visit http://www.getty.edu/collectorscabinet.
It is no surprise that this exhibit won a 2010 Muse Award for Interpretive Interactive Installations with its simple and clean interface that works within the classic natural science displays of animals. The Melbourne Museum in Victoria, Australia displayed a biodiversity exhibition titled Wild: amazing animals in a changing world that contained over 770 mammal and bird mounts from all over the globe.
The curators wanted to have the animals on display without any interpretive text on the wall.Â The âPanoramic Navigatorsâ were installed to provide information about every single specimen in the gallery. The Panoramic Navigators are a pole-mounted, tilting and rotating touch screen greeting visitors with a seemingly live image of the scene before them. Touching on an animal brings up factual information and conservation status. A high quality photograph or video of the animal in its natural habitat can be viewed and a 360Â° movie of the object can be rotated by the visitor.
The interactive installation is very popular with visitors and the museumâs website is also very informative and fun as well. Learn more at http://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/discoverycentre/wild/.