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Themed Design: Sarner Projects Technology into Science Museum’s Gallery Revamp

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Interactive ‘Who am I?’ exhibition explores brain science, genetics and what makes us who we are

The Science Museum’s award winning biomedical gallery, ‘Who am I?’, has been relaunched as part of the museum’s centenary celebrations.  The exhibition was first opened at the museum in 2000 but, thanks to significant advances in genetics and brain science, the Science Museum has updated and revamped the gallery with the very latest scientific research, interactive exhibits, hands-on experiences and educational show cases which explore what makes us who we are and what makes each of us unique. 

Internationally renowned AV installation company Sarner was appointed as Audio Visual systems integrator for the detailed design, installation and commissioning of AV services of the exhibition following a tender process.  The project, which was supported by the Principal Funder, Wellcome Trust, and Major Sponsors, GlaxoSmithKline and Life Technologies Foundation, took a total of five months from tender process to completion with three months on-site at the museum.

Sarner’s provision of the design, installation and commissioning of AV within the gallery includes:

• Me3 Exhibits
• 37 Bloid Exhibits
• 19 AV Showcase Exhibits
• Live Science Entrance
• 2 Control Room 

The Me3 Exhibit, a multi-element interactive experience, is made up of Threshold, Central Exhibit and Backdrop. The main attraction, the Threshold exhibit, creates a dramatic entrance to the gallery and features moving coloured particles which are constantly projected on to the floor of the long ‘catwalk’ with seamless projection.  Visitors are ‘drawn’ along the floor, captivated by the colours, and, as they approach the wall at the end, a recessed camera converts the individual’s body shape in to a mass of coloured particles, mimicking their exact body shape and movement in real time.  

This innovative interactive projection was achieved using Calibre PVPROHD warp processors that allow a seamless image to appear along the floor and up the end wall at a 90 degree angle.  Breaking with traditional boundaries, the 5 x Panasonic 6700 projectors have been positioned out of sight and driven at extreme angles – this not only delivers the seamless projection but also lets visitors approach the camera on the end wall without causing shadows.
Ross Magri, Sarner’s Managing Director, comments, “We enjoyed the challenge of finding a way to achieve a seamless vertical and horizontal video wall with 180 degree interaction as there wasn’t a solution available in the market at the time of tender”.  Magri adds, “It was refreshing for us to focus on a pure engineering project and we feel that ‘Who am I?’ showcases our ability to deliver highly technical innovative solutions.  ” 

The projection of the coloured particles continues through the gallery with the other Me3 exhibits, the Central Exhibit and Backdrop.  The Central Exhibit, the centrepiece of the gallery, is a large interactive table which brings visitors together to investigate what makes them unique.  This exhibit consists of two tables, each embedded with 6 x 32” touch screens, where visitors play games and answer questions about themselves, while audio is heard via speakers mounted from the ceiling.  This exhibit is linked to Backdrop, a large wall (18x4m) at the back of the gallery which uses the answers and information that visitors input at the Central Exhibit and projects it on to the back wall using 4 x Panasonic 6700 projectors.

Sarner was responsible for the installation of all the touch screens used in the new exhibition, including the 10 Bloids (unique aluminium 3D shapes that each house up to 6 exhibits) which cover major themes such as human identity, language, consciousness, genetics, sexuality and brain science; the 13 touch screen kiosks which are positioned throughout the gallery and allow visitors to explore subjects in greater depth and read about new developments; and the 15 screens within seven of the captivating static display cases which showcase research, museum artefacts and exclusive art works by Internationally renowned contemporary artists including Antony Gormley and Dryden Goodwin.
 

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