Association of Science Technology Centers

Association of Science Technology Centers

This is a website that is a nexus for science center and museum professionals, developers, students, and interested parties. I had requested a log-in for the training center (Proffesional Practice Community) in August of 2010, and the access password was still valid!


The exploration begins….Netflix + iPad

I’ve been watching some VERY cool documentaries, as I have recently become obsessed with the sun, and well, it’s also a part of my current research in interactive media art museum exhibit design!


including a few episodes from the “the Universe” Series:

“Life and Death of a Star”  Season 1 : Episode 10.  Ignited by the power of the atom, stars are anything but peaceful. They collide, devour each other and explode in enormous supernovas.

“GRAVITY” Season 2 : Episode 17. Gravity, the most powerful and exacting force in the universe, binds us together, hangs stars in the sky and crushes light.

“MAGNETIC STORM”. Season 5 : Episode 3 A magnetic storm from the sun could wipe out television, radio, military communication and nearly all electronics in the Northern Hemisphere.

“SECRETS OF THE SUN”.Season 1 : Episode 1. Of all the stars in the universe, one dominates our celestial neighborhood: the Sun. It’s so large that a million Earths could fit in its boundaries.

“Dark Future of the Sun” Season 5 : Episode 8. Our sun has served Earth well for almost 5 billion years. But like humans, our home star is mortal.


And I also started checking out iPad apps, since the GUIs on those might prove to be interesting and informative for designing my own interface:

I haven’t bought this app yet, but I just might. Wonders of the Universe come out at the end of March, (3 days ago!) and in the article here:

the reviewer writes: “Instead of following the page metaphor, Glide creates a simple, scrollable column of text that introduces rich media elements — video, image galleries and interactive infographics — at appropriate moments in the narrative,” says Walton. “Whereas many applications entice you away from the story causing distraction, Glide weaves multimedia into the narrative leading to a deeper engagement.”

The app is divided up into sections that offer content in seven different realms: Subatomic, Atomic, Solar System, Stars, Milky Way, Galaxies, and Universe. Each section contains its own unique visuals in the form of 3D graphics on the screen, as well as individual chapters on different topics pertaining to the realm. The goal behind the app is one of discovery.

“We wanted the user experience to be one of unconstrained discovery, so we gave them the option of jetting off on their own through the 3D Universe, to a Black Hole for example, where they could call up related content on arrival. But, if they preferred, they could [take] Brian Cox’s guided tours of the Solar System and the Universe for a more curated experience,” says Alex Gatrell, Digital Publisher for Collins.

So this app has decided to take an interactive experience that can branch into two paths: guided (more curated) tour or exploratory and self-guided. Something to consider, indeed. But since my iPad 1 doesn’t have a gyroscope (added in iPad 2 or 3?), I will have to borrow an iPad 3 from somebody? bummer.

Anyway other apps that I picked up are:

Universe News, a great ESA (European Space Agency) app. Description: These videos and images provide an introduction to the basics of stellar evolution; how stars are born, the source of their energy, and how they die as Red Giants, White Dwarfs, Supernovae and Black Holes. Most of the videos are ESA programs about the latest discoveries from Hubble and ground telescopes, looking at star birth, star death and star clusters. Includes over 45 minutes of video and 58 high-resolution images. Video programs courtesy of ESA. Images: NASA/ESA.

Sun Scale – an app for helping to understand the scale of large celestial bodies. Description:Have you ever wondered how big the Sun is, or how far it is to the nearest star? Sun Scale makes it easy for you to visualize the scale of the Solar System by scaling everything down to manageable sizes.

Wolfram Stars Reference App for finding stars and classifying them. Description: …access to real-time data on over 100,000 stars. Compute your favorite star’s sky position, find out when it will rise next, and perform advanced calculations.

Pieces of a Dream

So I have this idea for a project and I started prototyping…. here is a sneak peek…

Project Proposal:

“We will create a mystical immersive environment that borrows from Celtic Shamanism to engage the user by allowing them to interact with the Sacred Tree, and through this interaction, receive information to help guide them on their Life Journey. You can enter the enchanted forest, where the Sacred Tree lies. But you must walk the labyrinth surrounding the interactive tree to arrive at the place between worlds, and enter into another realm. Once you arrive at the center, you walk through the gates through a portal to a time of Celtic Shamanism, a time that preceded the Druids, where nature and man and magic were common. When you enter there will be a motion sensor that is triggered and projections will start to change. The Voice of the Tree will greet you to sit upon its roots. You may sit for a bit to watch the visuals and listen to soothing sounds. When you are ready, there is a Sacred Staff that you use to tap the tree, and your Power Animal is revealed. Through randomized Projection an animal is chosen from Sacred Celtic Shamanistic lore. If you have a cell phone, you will be able to scan a QR code (tastefully embedded into the piece) that will take you to a website that tells you about your sacred animal, and its meaning. There will be other ways to interact with the tree, with various sensors embedded that allow you to awaken a dragon-fly, rustle the leaves and more. Awaken the tree spirit, and he may even talk to you! When  you leave the space, there will be a button on the inside of one of the trellises that you can press that will deactivate parts of the audio-visual-electronic elements so that when another enters they may experience the sacred ritual of interacting with this Tree. You must again walk the labyrinth to return to our world.”

Elegant Magnetosphere Visual Art

Now this is what I’m talking about. This is taking cosmic data (magnetosphere being hit by solar magnetic waves) that is captured by our human technology and making it beautiful! Joy o Joy.

SemiConductor’s 20Hz Piece

From the Shocklee website: 20 Hz is a 5 minute video which uses data collected by the CARISMA radio array. CARISMA [Canadian Array for Realtime Investigations of Magnetic Activity] is an array of magnetometers which study the Earth’s magnetosphere. 20 Hz is an interpretation of a magnetic storm occurring in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The CARISMA data – captured at the frequency of 20 Hertz – is interpreted as audio, allowing us to hear the “tweets” and “rumbles” caused by the interaction of solar wind with the Earth’s magnetosphere. The visual element of the film is generated directly by the sound. Tangible and sculptural forms emerge suggestive of scientific visualisations. As different frequencies interact both visually and aurally, complex patterns emerge to create interference phenomena that probe the limits of our perception.