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Nate Waddington's Portfolio

Museum of the Unseen

A smart museum in a smart building

“Guests are enticed to explore a display case of smart exhibits that connect with the museum environment. Each object activates a dynamic video, showing how IBM’s IoT is transforming client operations across the globe and in unexpected ways. When an object is placed on a nearby table, the surface morphs into a 3D portal, inviting visitors to discover the depth of these successes.”

– AKQA Museum of the Unseen


Nate had the opportunity to work with the IBM team on the Exploratorium portion of the Museum of the Unseen. This was an interactive display case that worked with physical objects, the display screens, and the overall system controllers that IBM had for engaging with the entire experience.

The objects interacted with the display case via RFID tags. The bases that the objects sit on relay information to the video player server via a series of Arduinos (connected with I2C to a master Arduino controller connected to the network). When an object is picked up or put down, the video player server would show the appropriate video, in the correct space.

Roles and Objectives:

  • Built a testing rig so that the interactive display could be tested automatically
  • Help write and program the communication protocols between systems
  • Engage and work with overseas clients to understand how the system should be built–this was a retrofit project, going into an existing space with existing systems that needed to be considered.
  • Engage and work with South American hardware vendors–to ensure what was being built would work with the video player server we were building in house.
  • Travel to Munich to help co-ordinate and verify the installation with clients and vendors

August 2018

Filed under AKQA, programming, prototyping, production, interaction design, installation, arduino