Prototyping Interactive Data Viz: 11. ASTRO BULLETIN GESTURE-BASED INTERACTIVE

The following is a deeper dive into one of the projects developed at the American Museum of Natural History in FY17 to help us better understand how to bring the digital work of Museum scientists to visitors through emerging media. Read the top-level findings from the year or carry on below. 

11. ASTRO BULLETIN GESTURE-BASED INTERACTIVE

Assets: Digital Universe

Technology: Kinect

What we did: We turned the Astro Bulletin screen into an interactive exhibit in which visitors flew through the Universe using only physical gestures.

Key findings: There’s strong enthusiasm for using one’s own body to control content on a large screen.

Other Findings:

  • Linear or roaming? Most adults wanted more range, ability to choose their destinations or make guided discovery of objects and phenomena. “Make it so each user’s experience is a little different.” “Hidden things for you to discover.” But some users weren’t bothered by the linear path, they just wanted to be able to travel it in a fluid way.
  • Desired destinations. “I want to go to the Moon!” “I want to go to the Sun!” “I want to go to the middle of the Sun!” Others: an asteroid, a supernova, planets, the International Space Station, a black hole.
  • Learning to fly. Kids were very physical, swinging their arms wildly, bending down low, twisting, turning in circles, making airplane arms, etc. They often “learned” the gestures by chance. Adults were less playful; most needed to be shown the gestures. But it’s clear that with further development, this interactive could be made intuitive enough for visitors to use without a live facilitator.
  • Users want a more nuanced response to gestures, for example: degree of tilt affects speed of rotation. They craved a more “real” flying sensation.

Learn more about the other prototypes:

  1. AR SHARK (learn more)
  2. CT SCANS WITH HOLOCUBE (learn more)
  3. VR WEEVIL (learn more)
  4. AR CONSTELLATIONS (learn more)
  5. ESCAPE THE PLANET (learn more)
  6. AR SCALES OF THE UNIVERSE (learn more)
  7. MEAD FESTIVAL 360 VIDEOS (learn more)
  8. PALEONTOLOGY 360 VIDEO (learn more)
  9. CT MUMMIES (learn more)
  10. TREE OF LIFE (learn more)
  11. ASTRO BULLETIN GESTURE-BASED INTERACTIVE (learn more)

About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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