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CES 2011: Futuristic Gadgets for Museums & Educators

We were just at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. CES is where practically every electronics hardware manufacturer shows off their latest and greatest, and we saw a plethora of insane gadgets, from the cutting-edge to the solidly practical. Most of the gadgets are focused on personal use (you can now sync your appliances to your smartphone, for instance), but we saw a few that we thought could be used with varying degrees of success for educational or exhibit purposes. Or at least be used to make museums worldwide seem a lot more like Blade Runner.

Intel Oasis

Intel OasisThe Intel Oasis is a projection-based system that can recognize 3D objects and project different settings based on the objects. They demo’d it with toys, but we could imagine it in a natural history museum recognizing different dinosaur models and changing the ecosystem of the projected environment based on the dinosaur. Or recognizing historical objects and projecting some facts about the object. Or projecting a map that changes when dams and other landscape-changing features are placed on it.

The possibilities are numerous. Unfortunately, there’s no indication that this will be anything other than a research project as of yet.

Samsung’s flexible and transparent display prototypes

Samsung Transparent DisplayPicture all museum kiosks going futuristic with these prototypes. The flexible display, although currently only made in a very small size, could be wrapped around columns to be used as digital signage or made into cyndriliical displays. And the screen’s flexibility makes it practically shatter-proof (in the demo, they hit it with a sledgehammer) and thus an excellent choice for high-traffic areas and exhibits.

The clear displays, beside just looking cool, could be used to create a double-sided interactive for visitors (although the image mirroring might be tricky). It also allows visitors to see the space behind the display, making it a less intrusive and more space-maximizing option for limited or crowded exhibit rooms.

LG Scanner MouseLG LSM-100 Scanner Mouse

This new mouse does all the usual mouse things, but it also can scan images of the things it slides over into the computer. We’re imagining using it as a quick and fun way to digitize visitor-contributed drawings and writings.

iRobot’s AVA prototype

iRobot AVAWe saved the best for last. This robot has the ability to drive itself around a building and map it entirely, making it one heck of an interactive kiosk or tour guide. Plus you can plop almost any tablet on top of it to serve as its “head”, including one of the many impressive Android tablets released at CES or the iPad, allowing you to choose almost any platform for your application. There are no words for how cool this is.

Ideum, Open Exhibits’ managing organization, was at CES with our new hardware partners Touch Revolution. Touch Revolution makes some great and affordable multitouch displays, and if you’re looking for a touch kiosk solution, their screens should definitely be considered as an option. Thanks to the TR folks for their hospitality.

Pictures courtesy of Engadget

by View this user's profile on January 12, 2011

 
  

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