Why would a vision of the future not incorporate technology and trends we are already experiencing?

What if we started a conversation between guests through a museum exhibit experience about the socioeconomic implications of smart technology that augments human capabilities such as big data and robotics?

How would we demonstrate these sort of innovative technologies so that guests may become aware of how we might as a society provide for more equal and fair access to the wonders of the future?

Team

Philip Begel, Ethan Hetzler, Peggy Lu

Duration

Spring 2017; 6 weeks 

Role

Concept Design; Documentation; Sketching; Graphic Design

Team-based academic project conducted in the Experience Design course taught by Professor Jeffrey Bardzell within the Human-Computer Interaction/design Master's program at Indiana University, Bloomington.
 

Design Brief

Overview

The goal of this project was to design an innovative museum exhibit, which serves the needs of all relevant stakeholders.

Our video prototype demonstrates the design of the Human Augmentation exhibit showing a model of the exhibit itself, its primary goals, our rationale, and posititioning in the scope within the museum, the Museum of the Future

Exhibit: Desiderata

Video Prototype

Design fiction aims to “explore possible fictional logics and assumptions in order to reconsider the present” (Bleeker, 2009. pg 6).

As new innovations emerge, integration with smart technologies raises a series of ethical dilemmas in regards to the choices the smart technology will make on our behalf and the implications for social inequality that it brings in the realms of privacy and access.

To demonstrate this, we focused specifically on the design space of technology that augments human capabilities, physically and socially. Our museum exhibit, Desiderata, aims to be a critical exploration of these emerging technologies. Guests are given an experience of exploring a near future reality where:

  1. Social - big data innovations in Internet of Things technology augment our access to free information & ease of living  
  2. Physical - advancements in robotics allow us to augment and surpass our physical limitations.

The purpose here is to start a conversation between guests about the socioeconomic implications of technology and how we might as a society provide for more equal and fair access to the wonders of the future.

What I Learned

  • Aesthetic details: The overall feel of the experience was something that was hard to settle on as a team vs having an individual vision. Ultimately, we used voting to decide on a particular path and stuck with that vision leading to the resulting Tron-esque aesthetic of the experience. It was important to give a lot of attention to the details of entering/exiting of the museum to immerse people in the experience and have them buy into the critical elements of the exhibit where each provided data device gave people different experiences of the exhibit. 
  • Experience Design is Storytelling: We wanted to give people the ability to make their own story from entering the museum to leaving it. This would mark their perspective on the issues and themes presented. 

 

Process

Our design workbook can be found online here or viewed below. 

The design workbook documents our design process in a way that diverse stakeholders can understand the process as well as the major choices or decision points, and how they were made. The workbook includes a combination of lightly annotated common design process elements such as:

  • scans of sketches
  • visual exemplars
  • narrative scenarios
  • affinity diagrams
  • storyboards
  • graphics of models/prototypes
  • thematic descriptions
  • primary and secondary research

 

We present our process of exploring museum attributes exemplars, an experience prototype, pastiche scenario, and critical design that we have used to help us question assumptions, become aware of consequences, defamiliarize ourselves, and as inspiration for our final museum exhibit design.

Furthermore, we view the implications of our collection and identify strategies used to destabilize, trouble, provoke, or disrupt our conceptions of the world and the role of technology, and incorporate those strategies into our exhibit. In short, our process was characterized by exploring and communicating themes of interest through these design methods. We recognized that because of the complex nature of the project there was a risk of drowning into ideas and thoughts. “Muddling through” helped us to prevent this by providing material to build upon earlier ideas and push on.