Anyone who has visited the National Museum of Australia in Canberra over the past six months may have come across a rather impressive exhibit telling the story of Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route, an important cultural part of Australian history. Why so impressive? It's a 10-screen interactive multitouch exhibit.
Created by the team at Lightwell in conjunction with West Australian not-for-profit, cultural project organisation FORM, the display combines ten 46-inch multitouch screens to create a single interactive surface, in which different parts of the exhibit can be shown off.
Michael Hill from Lightwell was part of the team developing the exhibit, and told us exactly how they came to create a 10-screen museum exhibition:
"We had previously developed interactive installation projects with cameras and projectors, but for this project the client wanted the program to be able to travel to different locations. The MultiTouch Cells were a good solution to the issue of packing up and moving on without the complex set-up that cameras and projectors require. There is also a lot of detail in the content - from 100 year old maps to text and still images - so we needed something that had higher resolution than a projected image.
The project took nine months from start to finish. The biggest challenge was trying to address the sense of fatigue we felt visitors might experience in an interface that was 8 metres long. We tried a few different interface designs before settling on the points on a map approach which seems obvious now."
The entire exhibit is powered by five Core i7 PCs running Ubuntu, with a single PC per pair of Multitouch screens. More impressive is the fact that the whole thing can handle at least 25 people using it at once.