[Design Thesis] 1-3 Technology for Exhibit Spaces

To improve the information interaction in the art museum, one of the opportunity I observe is to bridge the gap between artworks and information. You might ask why I want to bridge the gap to provide more information to the visitors. The answer partly comes from some large-scale visitor research by museums(which I will further summarize in another post), and also depends on future interviews with the visitors in an art museum in Pittsburgh.

So, first, I did research on current technology used in museums. Most popular use are mobile applications and augmented reality. Visitors can get more information from the apps for both smartphones and tablets. They can read texts, listen to audios or watch videos on feature interviews with curators and artists. These apps also encourage interaction with the exhibits and the museums. Augmented reality is used to create richer experience with the exhibits for both onsite and offsite visitors.

Here are some exciting examples:

LeafSnap: a crowdsourcing app from Smithosonian

–  Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers : “provides an overview and insights into select art pieces with hi-res images, video, audio and quotes directly from the artist.”

Gallery One: inspiring exhibit interaction from the reinvented Cleveland Museum of Art

– Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit: Royal Ontario Museum(Canada) create a new way to experience dinosaurs (video introduction)


I also look into the technology that might support new ways of information display. I read some articles on prediction of future mobile devices and user interfaces. I summarized some trends that are related to my research.

1) More authentic and ubiquitous visual experience. Screens become bigger with higher resolution. Projectors might be built in the mobile devices to support flexible displays. In the future, the interaction will be more ubiquitous. What we call mobile devices today may all become wearable devices. Google Glass is one of the attempts. Others include foldable interfaces, transparent LCD patches that can be applied on any glass and contact lens that can project visual feed directly on to your retina.

On the other hand, the viewing experience will become more authentic, such as the popularity of 3D display and augmented reality.

2) More intuitive input methods. The voice input and gesture control will become more fluent.Some day, people can control the devices by brain without touching the screens.

3) Smarter devices and interfaces. With development of sensor technology and big data, mobile devices continue to learn and detect behaviors of human beings, and thus provide more contextual services. For example, recommendations and suggestions based on your previous behavior; or more advanced, the network of things.

4) Advanced supporting system. Along with the development of smarter devices and ubiquitous interfaces, the supporting system (power and connectivity) will also be improved.

Based on my research and my previous findings, I created a rough timeline of new technology that might be applied in the art museums. It’s really rough right now. It functions more as a guidance and a draft for future exploration. It would be really interesting to make a summaries of all the possible technology for art museums to improve the visiting experiences.


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