17.09.2018 | 5 minutes reading time
Together with NEEEU Spaces GmbH we made a lot of ‘Vogelgezwitscher’ at this year’s Lange Nacht der Museen
‘Vogelgezwitscher’, which is the German word for bird twitter, is an augmented reality app that we are currently developing with NEEEU. With this app, we pursue the idea of highlighting selected exhibits in the historic bird hall and making interesting facts and anecdotes about them interactively tangible for the museum audience. The team of the design and innovation studio, above all their wonderful intern Insiya Jafferjee, has completed an impressive development sprint over the last 3 weeks and presented a first prototype of the app just on time.
For the Lange Nacht der Museen we presented ourselves with exhibits of the Great Bustard, the Spotted Woodpecker and the Snowy Owl in front of the bird hall. This alone is extraordinary, because the exhibits in the bird hall are actually part of the scientific-historical museum collection that is usually not open to the public. Only in special guided tours, some lucky visitors can gain an exclusive insight into the bird collection, which is already impressive because of its sheer amount of over ten thousand exhibits.
Visitors were invited to scan a marker next to the exhibits using provided smartphones and headphones. Then they were greeted by an authentic voice of the bird species. All of them are recordings from the museum’s animal voice archive. The special feature is the dynamic binaural technology, which in contrast to conventional stereophony provides a very vivid sound experience. For example, if the app user equipped with headphones turns his back to the exhibit, the perceived direction of the sound source also changes. If the app user moves away from the exhibit, the bird’s singing also becomes quieter.
In addition to the singing of the birds, the app helps to augment the exhibits with further information. After scanning the markers, soap bubbles appear on the display of the smartphone in the typical NEEEU design and show the user further interaction possibilities. Aside from text descriptions about the birds’ habitat and other images, the user learns more about the unique courtship dance of the Great Bustard through an animated illustration or sees the resistance of the skull of a Spotted Woodpecker in a 3D model.
Especially in the first few hours, a kind of productive chaos was in order. Hundreds of visitors rushed through the exhibition halls of the museum and quickly found their way to our test stand in front of the bird hall. No wonder, because the Museum für Naturkunde was the major attraction of the evening with more than 10,000 visitors.
In the early morning hours the bird showcases, which we had polished ourselves to be super shiny, were again covered with all kinds of fingerprints from curious app testers. Especially at our pretty exhibit of a Snowy Owl, our little guests had their noses flattened – thanks to Harry Potter.
But the effort and the hectic of the last weeks were worth it. The evening was useful to get plenty of honest and helpful feedback from the visitors. We now want to evaluate the feedback of the testers together with NEEEU and use it as a basis for the further development of the app according to the needs of the museum’s audience.