Naturkunde 365/24 ends, Mediasphere For Nature stays

Nadja Heinisch

By Nadja Heinisch
27.02.2020 | 6 minutes reading time

After more than three years, the project “Naturkunde 365/24”, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the State of Berlin, is coming to an end. Through this funding, the Mediasphere For Nature was established as THE multimedia application lab at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.


Impressions of the finissage in the dinosaur hall, photo: Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)
Impressions of the finissage in the dinosaur hall, photo: Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)

The Mediasphere For Nature’s mission will continuously be to make high-quality scientific digital media from the museum’s scientific collection available to interest groups from society, business, education, creative industries and science. In doing so, new research questions will be uncovered, start-ups promoted and the museum’s natural historical heritage communicated to the general public.

We look back on three successful years with numerous collaborations and a steadily growing network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from the media and creative industries as well as the education sector. Various event formats were developed within the timeframe of the project and innovative product developments have been made possible. More than 20 employees on part of the museum were involved in the project and over 200 network partners enthusiastically participated.

Among our event highlights are the established networking series “Mediasphere Meetups”, the innovation workshop „FLORA FAUNA FUTURE“ in cooperation with the Fiction Forum of the Competence Center for Cultural and Creative Industries, networking events of the bionics industry in cooperation with BIOKON and EVOCO as well as the participation in several Coding da Vinci hackathons. All of the events served as a platform to exchange creative ideas for innovative products and services, to bring together our scientists with creative and cultural professionals and to present new application developments and products.


2 out of 4 groups at the innovation workshop FLORA FAUNA FUTURE. photo: Mina Gerngross
2 out of 4 groups at the innovation workshop FLORA FAUNA FUTURE. photo: Mina Gerngross

In the context of the annual Coding da Vinci hackathons, several creative prototype ideas were developed and implemented with data sets from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. For example, the magnificent beetle poster by designer Michael Scheuerl, which was created from high-resolution scans of the museum’s insect boxes and which is available for purchase in the museum shop.


Michael Scheuerl presenting an insect box and his poster. photo: Hwa Ja-Götz (MfN)
Michael Scheuerl presenting an insect box and his poster. photo: Hwa Ja-Götz (MfN)

Another successful project, originating from Coding da Vinci, is the app „SnailSnap“, which last year traveled through Germany and Austria as an exhibit on the MS Wissenschaft on the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI). There it spread knowledge about the snails of the scientific collection of the museum in selfie style.

Some of the prototypes were presented to the audience of the museum at the Long Night of Museums, such as the multi-touch scanner table by Garamantis, where an individually designed T-Rex 3D-model ran across the table. We also repeatedly received inquiries about specific objects from the collection of the museum, such as a barn owl that was digitized by Distant Relative as a 3D model for „MONOH – With Attitude“, a music video on man and nature.


Our music video star, photo: Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)
Our music video star, photo: Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)

Another project was the touchable crocodile created by werk5. Here, a crocodile was digitized and subsequently an interactive and barrier-free tactile model was built. The scientific expertise of the staff of the museum has always been an important part of our projects and a benefit for many cooperation partners.


The touch station of werk5 is being tested. photo: Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)
The touch station of werk5 is being tested. photo: Hwa Ja Götz (MfN)

Frequently, recordings from the museum’s archive of animal voices were also used for projects, for example for TRIAD Berlin's „Caveman-VR“, which takes you into an archaic primeval environment. Another example is NEEEU's „Vogelfinder-App“ app, which enables an interactive guided tour through the historic bird room. Also the virtual installation „Inside Tumucumaque“ by the Interactive Media Foundation, Filmtank and Artificial Rome, which allows you to experience animals and their sensory perception in the Amazon rainforest up close, is using sounds from the animal voice archive.

As an integral part of the research and research infrastructure, Mediasphere For Nature, as the Leibniz Association’s only media application lab so far, will continue to support the opening of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin to the various stakeholder groups in the future. Collaborations and projects with SME partners will continue to thrive, and our events, such as the “Mediasphere Meetups”, will offer an ongoing opportunity for networking.