history moves / interface design

The ultimate goal of this project was to create a mobile humanities lab by way of a history museum on wheels that can move about Chicago collecting and displaying various crowd-sourced histories of the city

The work I contributed to was funded by a University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) grant with the end result being a full scale prototype—a low-fi bus interior (foam core structure) complete with interactive exhibit modules to be presented in late Sept/early Oct. This work was a collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Brier (historian / dept of women's and gender studies) plus Julie Flohr (architecture). The challenge was to create a highly flexible, mobile, and interactive exhibit space that blends architecture with interactive media for immersive, content-rich experiences that can change frequently (and cheaply) as the bus travels the city. My specific role was to help Matt Wizinsky ( designer/researcher at the UIC Innovation Center) develop a variety of prototypes that allow visitors to access digital content (images, video, audio, text) through a variety of methods. The "display" part of the project consisted of 3 areas of research: 1) how to activate/interact with the content 2) how is content projected or otherwise made audible/visible in the space—specific to the architectural components 3) how do printed fabrics/papers/magnetic materials/etc augment and interact with the digital.

Initially, the studies included 1) experimenting with touchable surfaces (not screens), such as using conductive paints/threads/inks, piezo or other touch senors, or other methods to make touchable/actionable surfaces 2) motion/gesture or other camera-based methods for sensing individual or group actions in the space 3) analog/mechanical devices such as knobs, levers, buttons, etc. that can activate digital content. Some were ruled out during the experimentation phase.

I developed a series of interfaces combining physical computing and non-traditional surfaces as interactive resources. Results included a fabric-based touch screen.

For more information, please visit the project's website: http://historymoves.org/

technologies used:   arduino, processing, openframeworks, kinect, java, sensors