Kiosks at AMNH

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My group at the IBM T.J. Watson research center developed the Visitor Information and Education Workstation kiosks at the American Museum of Natural History. Here's an abstract of that project:

One of the primary questions visitors ask when entering a museum is: "Now what do I do? Where do I go?" At the American Museum of Natural History this question arises not only when visitors walk in the main entrance, but throughout their visit as they wander and often get lost in the labyrinth of hallways that make up the Museum.

To address these and many other visitor questions, IBM Research developed 30 visitor kiosks that are located throughout the Museum. They provide navigational aides by using museum landmarks (hi-lights of their collection) that can be found along the visitors route to their desired location. Visitors can also use interactive maps, view daily and upcoming events, and see some "Behind the Scenes" activities about various exhibits and curators.

My own contributions were to the "Finger Walk" floorplans (drag your finger into a room and see pictures of the exhibits there), directions printouts (which combined floorplans and procedural "landmark" ("TripTik"-style) instructions for getting somewhere, image database management, content authoring, and the kiosk design.

The challenge in the kiosk design was to create a public-access kiosk which:

  1. met strict ergonomics criteria while,
  2. representing a high standard of aesthetics and innovation, and
  3. complementing the existing architecture and design elements of the museum.
Jeff led a design effort with with graphic designers, engineers, and museum staff. Required for this job were: The result is widely acclaimed for it's visual appeal (corean marble surfaces for leaning and touching, stainless steel and bronze trim, elegant lines), usability (angle and height and presentation for visitors of all ages and mobilities), and function (easy access to printouts, facility for family/group usage, accomodate large touch-screen, modular 1, 2, or 3-terminal options, portability, access for maintenance, special modifications for cooling).

© Copyright 1998 Kiosk Information Systems, used here by permission.

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