Science in the Dock is open!

For the past few months I’ve been working on IT exhibits for Glasgow Science Centre. What started out as a commission for two interactive exhibits turned into a project involving five exhibits. These ranged from relatively simple touch-screen video interactives to full-blown games and dual-screen applications. A few highlights…

News Editor

News EditorThis exhibit allows visitors to edit their own news story, selecting video clips, applying blue-screen effects, applying captions and music to produce a news piece suitable for broadcast. Once complete, visitors can re-play their entire package as it would be shown on TV, complete with titles and credits.

The tricky part here was getting Flash to seamlessly stream one clip after the other with no buffering delay. Other people had abandoned Flash in the past for its limitations in handling frame-accurate video playback. For this project I had to develop some Actionscript routines that guaranteed seamless playback and syncronisation of title overlays.

You Vote

You VoteThis one features a touch-screen interface, webcam and large projection screen. Visitors are allowed to vote on the topic of the day, then have their head ‘beamed’ onto a cartoon body of their choice on the projection screen.

I knew before I started that the difficulty would be in syncronising content between the two screens – one a 19″ touch-screen, the other a 6ft projector display. A solution was developed using specific graphics cards, a load of Actionscript and advanced configuration of the touch-screen software.

Organ Transplant

Organ TransplantOrgan Transplant was the last exhibit we developed and is probably the most popular of them all. It’s so popular that Glasgow Science Centre had to install a second terminal beside the first to meet demand. The high score table, controlled by an on-screen keyboard, has made things highly competitive — the current high score is 540, more than double my highest score!

There’s a few higher res photos of my exhibits here.

If you go to Glasgow Science Centre, please take a look and let me know what you think.