It might seem daunting to decide what kind of technology incorporates best into a particular exhibition design. On top of new techniques constantly emerging, there is already an overwhelming choice of options.

Technology is key in the creation of engaging visitor experiences. It can create immersive environments, collect audience data, improve accessibility and make complex information easier to understand.

Digital techniques can render the inaccessible, accessible. With technology, we have:

Why R&D is at the heart of every visitor experience.

We like to start practically, narrowing down the constraints of the exhibition design, visitor flow, and of course – cost. As usual, any tech must be in the service of delivering the exhibition concepts. It’s easy to be tempted by the latest and greatest but it’s still about the story first. Technology should fully integrate into the exhibition, rather than become the exhibition.

When it comes to new tech, our development team is constantly in the throws of R&D. New techniques are tested, developed or discarded before they ever find their way into an exhibition design. We bring together techniques from many different fields such as music, theatre, video, art, gaming, computing, children’s toys and so on, all in new ways.

Sometimes failures can be the most instructive and encouraging lessons of all (and usually always funny). Eventually the list of successful techniques grows ever longer and more refined.

Some of the techniques we’ve been working with recently include:

  • a 3D lenticular monitor
  • magnetic sensors for toy/object ids
  • a resistive membrane ribbon controller for analogue user input
  • inertial sensors and magnetometer for object and user orientation

Often novelty can be found in combining two or more techniques in unconventional ways. Vaeggen and OurSpace use a technique that combines a beam spreader and infrared laser to make invisible planes of light. Any objects intersecting this plane will get a line drawn on them visible only to a video camera. The camera images are analysed and tracked by a computer.

Having the opportunity to explore these ideas during R&D, free from any initial constraints other than budget, is a lot of fun and most certainly a privilege we’re grateful for.