Arduino, openFrameworks
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Macrofilm – A Tangible Narrative Ribbon by panGenerator

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Created by the panGenerator collective, Macrofilm is a permanent interactive installation for The Museum of The History of Polish Jews. The team was asked to create unique interactive installation for the Resource Center of The Museum that allows the visitors to browse through some stories of Polish Jews. Since they wanted to avoid any touch-screen interaction omnipresent all around us, instead something that would blend traditional, tangible experience of browsing through old archives and just subtly augment it with modern technology.

The installation consists of a ~9m long “ribbon” made out of two monolithic composite segments, wooden drawer, wooden RFID cards and the wooden central panel with big scroll wheel and a card slot. Interaction is intentionally simplified to the maximum – the user is asked to browse through wooden RFID cards in the drawer, choose one, put it on the panel and then just scroll using the big wooden wheel. In the initial stages the team tried to add some haptic feedback ( via specialised encoder ) during the scrolling, but ultimately they removed this in favour of utilising natural inertia of the wheel – only rising the friction when user scrolled to the end / beginning of the presentation.

The whole mapping segment of the install is driven by a custom openFrameworks application generating real-time visual content for 3 WUXGA projectors – one for the central panel ( where they needed more pixel density ) and
two others for left and right “wings” of the “ribbon”. Custom electronics for the wheel and RFID reader are based on Arduino and some custom shields and components the team designed.

Project PageThe Museum of The History of Polish Jews

See also “The New Austria” project by ART+COM.

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