IDA, Science Museum Show Review

Interaction Design Arts, T-Minus 2.0

As you enter the science museum, theres cheering all round, blue lights, fans in space gear, TV crews and comedians/actors as space experts. Today marks the day the first British astronaut Tim Peake successfully travelled into space and to celebrate this accomplishment, the science museum held an event called Principia: The Tim Peake launch (totally ignoring the other two astronauts that accompanied him, maybe because they were foreign, but Im not saying anything). Finally managing to squeeze past the patriotic locals to a floor up above, hidden behind the cosmonaut section, was the t-minus 2.0 IDA show.

 


The London Science Museum
From the super impressive to the Im not so sure what this is the IDA students had outdone themselves. Now kindly bare with me as I dont have the appropriate names for the installations so Ill name them as I saw them, hopefully I dont offend anyone…on to the first installation!
The Planet – Voice Match Maker


Myself,(right) & The Planet – Voice Match Maker Creator
The museum being a place to educate & inspire the masses, was missing out on one very important aspect; the audience. As much as the installations and displays were interesting and fun to interact with, we felt that the role of the museum should not only be to give out information & inspiration but it should also take information & inspiration from its diverse visitors who flow in and out the museum everyday. Other than donations & visitors flow, how does the museum really know which displays are working? How can they truly prove that their audiences are receiving all the intended knowledge they seek? By only giving out information they miss out on this freely given opportunity to improve. The museum can collect all this data that they can use in numerous manners of ways and the community automatically becomes part and parcel of the museum which increases value to the museum. (everybody wins)

 


The Planet – Voice Match Maker

The Rocket Launcher

4 pseudo space stations, wooden dashboards, one button and a pedal. All of these connected to a pipe with levels marked on them. (as a way to keep score I believe) One thing I found interesting and quite liked, is that this installation needed all the 4 stations manned working in synchronization to work. Simultaneously every participant had to press and hold the launch button to initiate their station and once this was done, a countdown (similar to the ones astronauts use) began and at the end of the countdown, all 4 of us had to press down the pedal at the same time. If any of us pressed the pedal prematurely or a little late it had a direct negative effect on how high the ball would travel upwards

This installation spoke volumes for me, although it was not high-tech, its layout and need for synchronized collaboration put the audience in a space where they could experience first hand what it would be like (well a fraction really) to be part of a rocket launch, which in retrospect required a great degree of team work.

I quite enjoyed interacting with this particular installation, all it needs is a little aesthetic improvement and in my opinion would be a fantastic addition to the science museum! (Im not the curator, just someone with an opinion)


The Rocket Launcher

Whats My Alien Age?

Ever been barred at a club because youre underage? or perhaps you wanted a kiddy meal or to ride the bus for free? No matter what your issue is one interaction student has figured out a way to solve all your age woes. She built an installation that required the audience to input their age on earth and the installation would calculate their corresponding age in other planets. So are you too old? Perhaps Saturn, Pluto, Neptune and Uranus are your perfect next destinations if you want to be a baby, (this depends entirely on how old you are) but if youre looking for retirement and discounted oyster cards Mercury is your go-to planet.


“Solar age” aka What’s My Alien Age
I am aware that there are tones of websites that can do this for you, however what was more impressive about this installation was in the way you interacted with it.It is complicated to describe into words however there are some images below and hopefully the captions will help you understand.


3 circles used to input data, rotate each to input year, month and day respectively. (From outter to inner)

The You have a call from a different planet
Okay before I go into this, the name above is probably not appropriate for the installation, but If I was the designer I would have named it as such. A more suitable name however, is how do voices sound from another planet?

So here we are, another installation that required the audience to collectively collaborate with each other(meaning if you came alone to the museum and you were socially awkward, youre going to have to make some friends.) Encompassing a spherical table marked with different planets all at different ends, provided with a headphone and microphones with dashed lines connecting the planets together at each station. How it worked was if you picked up the headphones and microphones, you would need someone else opposite you to do the same in order to experience the installation. You would speak into the microphone and your corresponding partner would hear your voice on their headphones, the only difference being your voice would sound like youre from the planet you were speaking from. (this is why I would have preferred a telephone setup!!!) As you may have guessed the reciprocal happened when your partner spoke into the microphone. The change in voice was due to the different gas levels in each planet for example one planet had high levels of Helium and thus as a result, your voice would be high pitched.

The installation worked well and let the audience know and experience what it would be like to talk to each other in space, also it showed them how inter-planet communication would sound like and from what I saw, the audience seemed to enjoy it. Thus it was very, very good.


The You have a call from a different planet installation

Conclusion

There were other installations at the show, but unfortunately I did not get enough content to write about them, however from the ones I saw and could write about, I must say I am impressed, but since Ive already told you what I think about those, Im going to take this time to talk about something else.


does a cool tipping method encourage tipping? installation
Post Science museum exploration, came dinner time of which I went to Nandos, where I saw the most interesting tipping contraption yet. Design as a sort of swirl tower, once the coin was inserted, it would roll round all the way the to the bottom. How cool is that? It made me want to keep tipping.. Which brings up the question , does a cool tipping method encourage tipping?” The only other establishment I have ever witnessed a different and interesting tipping mechanism was at CSM, whereby the bar had a miniature garbage bin labeled TIPS.