2019 | Professional

MUSE Design Awards Rose Gold Winner

Virtual Microbial Art Lab

Entrant Company

MNEMONIC

Category

Interior Design - Exhibits, Pavilions, & Exhibitions

Client's Name

Liberty Science Center

Country / Region

United States

Virtual Microbial Art Lab is an interactive exhibit that forms the centerpiece of the new exhibition, Microbes Rule! at Liberty Science Center.



The exhibition focuses on the beauty of microbes, featuring vibrant, colorful microbe art created in laboratories. The real-world processes for doing so are fairly complex, requiring a sterile environment and a lot of patience. VMAL was developed to give visitors an opportunity to respond to the artworks on display with their own creativity, and to garner an understanding of the microbes themselves and the lab processes used in handling them.



On a large multi-touch tabletop display, visitors first see a virtual gallery of both visitor-created art and award-winning works made by scientists, arranged in an organic circular layout that itself mimics the shape of a petri dish. At stations in the four corners of the table, visitors are prompted to tap the screen to join in.



The exhibit then leads them step-by-step through the process of creating microbial art: selecting a tool, sterilizing it with a virtual flame, dipping it into a dish of colorful microbes, and painting. As in the real world, visitors will not see any results at first; only after using a virtual incubator will the artwork blossom and grow. The tabletop interfaces combine the exhibition's graphic style with the skeuomorphic look of a real-world lab setting.



At surprise moments, when visitors select certain microbes, an 'Easter Egg' effect appears, as the table morphs to reveal animation of the microbe's real-world context - mold in a bathroom, yeast in fresh-baked bread, etc.



Once complete, artwork can be saved to the virtual gallery, or visitors can send themselves a copy via email or SMS for social media sharing.



See video at: https://vimeo.com/343596163

Credits

MNEMONIC
Interface and Experience Design, Software Development
Photo Credits:
MNEMONIC (1-5), Liberty Science Center (6-7)
Liberty Science Center
Exhibit Concept, Content Development, Exhibition Design
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