ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ – BELONGINGS
by a committee in many ways. This, along with our research process, led to us installing as a minimum viable product, and iterating throughout the year-long+ life span. This worked well and we ended up with an award-winning, world-class tangible museum installation.
I project managed the final iteration, and ended up using it for my thesis study. This was a good experience that allowed me to practice some of the skills I've picked up on some of my solo projects. We had a tight deadline and a steady stream of roadblocks, but we managed to pull it off with flying colours and several minutes to spare!
One of the big challenges in this project was learning to present a novel tangible interface to users whose tangible tabletop experience previously peaked what they saw in the film Avatar. There was no other way to interact with the exhibit, and no docent to answer questions or point out glitches. We had to try to handle unavoidable errors gracefully and to teach novel interaction in an intuitive way, or with a couple of words. On top of that, our research goals limited the amount of information we could give away freely. In the end, we created an interesting exhibit which allowed people to explore as much or little as they wanted, without feeling like they had an incomplete experience. We also created an excellent research artifact that has led to several publications and a few awards.
ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ – Belongings was a collaborative undertaking between SFU and UBC. It was part of a larger group of exhibitions, "The City Before the City", developed by The Museum of Anthropology, The Museum of Vancouver, and the Musqueam First Nation.
Those of us from the TECI Lab at SFU had a very specific research goal: we attempted to embody cultural values in tangible interaction. Specifically, the Musqueam value that cultural knowledge should be treated with respect. We attempted to embed this concept in user actions and options, as well as the tangibles themselves.
The exhibit consisted of a Microsoft SUR40 running software built in Unity. The 'Belongings' (tangibles) were highly-accurate replicas of ancient Musqueam belongings removed from the c̓əsnaʔəm village site. Tangibles were tracked by the table with MS byte tag fiducials - the SUR40 touch/tag/blob data was converted to TUIO by a stand-alone tool and passed into Unity. The table was networked with two other displays which played videos that could be unlocked by the users.
This exhibit was built in about half the time that was actually needed, and was designed