W19 Design - Interactive exhibit and exhibition design - Interactive Labels

The printed label will be with us for a long time to come but we are seeing more and more museums, science centres, galleries and visitor centres fitting some form of active or interactive label on exhibits. The interactive label is usually a small touch screen and allows the visitor to explore the subject in much greater detail. Text and images can be enhanced with audio and video and even augmented reality overlays on the artefacts.

Active labels can easily be updated to keep the content fresh or relavent to current events. By using a content management system any member of staff could remotely update labels or they could contain live information from RSS feeds or web-cams for example. The interface could be web based pages or an iPad app so devlopment is quick and cheap.

Benefits of active labels

  • Multimedia content
  • Layered information
  • Simple manual updating to keep content current
  • Option for live content, eg RSS feeds or web-cams
  • Multi language
  • Good access options, eg large fonts, spoken word labels

Rugged iPad housing to use iPad apps to add interaction to an exhibition

Ideal for museums, galleries and visitor centres. Custom apps for the iPad are quick and cheap to make, there are also thousands of interesting and fun apps available from the app store. The iPad Active Label allows you to fit an iPad anywhere in your exhibition. The menu and power buttons can be covered to lock the app and prevent it being accidentally changed. The iPad is securely mounted to prevent damage or theft yet still allows interactive use.

The iPad Active Label can act as a stand-alone interactive running custom or standard apps or it can augment an existing display. Users can navigate around the touch screen to find out more about objects and exhibits or their surroundings. The iPad can deliver a multimedia, multi-sensory experience and give a far greater breadth and depth of information than a traditional printed label. Content can quickly and easily be updated and even linked to web feeds for live updating.

iPad active label rotation

The rugged case can be mounted in a variety of ways. It can be mounted rigidly for single screen layout, either portrait or landscape. It is also an option to allow the housing to rotate so the user can twist it from portrait to landscape. Apps can be written to change the content as the screen rotates. For example you can have images and text in portrait switching to video playback in landscape. Rotation can be 90°, 180° or endless to allow free spinning.

More complex articulated mountings can be fabricated if you have a specific requirement, just contact us to find out more. If you want a simple mount then off-the-shelf VESA standard monitor brackets can be used for a cheap and reliable solution.

Bespoke Interactive labels

Here are a couple more examples of interactive labels. The first is an augmented reality label I first designed for use in a DNA based travelling exhibition although now it has found uses in other exhibitions. The second is a fully active label designed to completely replace a paper label.

Augmented Reality Label

User can swivel and tilt the touchscreen to locate hotspots, a camera on the rear of the unit captures a live image. Any number of hotspots can be programmed and when triggered a multimedia feature is played. Audio, video, still images, 3D models, interactive games are all possible. The swivel has endless travel and the tilt is adjustable. Powered from a safe 12 volt supply via a rotary coupling.

Musiquest active labels

These labels were designed to replace a traditional printed label. The active label allowed unlimited updating of the content and wide choice media such as text, short videos, pictures and animations. Another benefit is the option to add multiple languages without labels looking cluttered. This exhibition is located in Cardiff so all content is available in Welsh. I worked on this exhibition quite a few years ago now, since then larger screens have become much cheaper as have touchscreens.

Bespoke housings and labels

As well as the standard design we can custom design and build a housing or active label to match your exhibition style or create something new and exciting especially for you. The options here are limitless so contact us to discuss your project. Housings for other tablets, such as Android, available by request.

Material options

Housings can be fabricated in many different materials. Options include virgin plastic such as acrylic for a clean, polished look or HDPE for ultimate ruggedness; Recycled plastics ideal for ecology or sustainability themed exhibitions; Natural or engineered wood; Aluminium with polished or powder coated finish for a virtually unlimited choice of colours.

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