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AVATAR - 3-D virtual exhibition

Page history last edited by Caitlin Markey 11 years, 6 months ago

Project Title:  AVATAR - Immersive virtual reality kiosks 

Museum/ Institution: Museo Tridentino di Scienzi Naturali

Media Category: Interactive surfaces/kiosks 

Program Created: October 2008 

Program URL (if available): http://www.avatarexperience.eu/

 

Project Image(s) and/or Video 

  

Media Source(s)/Credit(s):

Carlo Maiolini, uploaded to ExhibitFiles (http://www.exhibitfiles.org/avatar)

 

Program Description: (150-250 words)

This program consists of several hi-tech computer kiosks equipped with 3-Dimensional technology, with which visitors can create and control their own digital alter egos through a series of virtual exhibition hall rooms. Visitors begin their journey by creating their avatar and exploring the topics of virtual alter egos and virtual worlds. They then move through a series of rooms which present topics like social interaction in virtual worlds, the history of virtual worlds, the governance and politics of virtual communities, legal issues, and the qualities of the real world versus the virtual one. The final virtual room in this program displays the central message of the exhibition, “There cannot be ME without US”.

 

According to an ExhibitFiles case study shared by the museum’s curator, Carlo Maiolini, AVATAR was designed to stimulate dialogue about the social and cultural implications of human interactions within online virtual worlds. The kiosks allow users to meet and interact virtually within the digital exhibition halls offered by the kiosks. Since this program exists within the physical museum, participants of this program can also meet and interact with each other in the real world as well. Within the digital environment of these kiosks, users can communicate and collaborate with each other via a voice chat function.

 

Firsthand or secondary review/critique: (150-250 words) 

The content of this kiosk seems fascinating and relevant considering the growing popularity of virtual technology. I like how this program aims to foster a deeper understanding of the implications of virtual technology by immersing users in a virtual environment.

 

One of my initial concerns about this program was whether it is too complex to be user-friendly to virtual technology novices. According to the exhibition’s website, one of the vital features of this program was simplicity; that is, an interface which is simple and intuitive for visitors with different levels of comfort and expertise with technology. This is particularly important, since the program has a target audience ranging from 8 to 99 years old. If the program designers succeeded in this task, I could see how the program could be enjoyable to people of all ages and even spark interest in the implications of virtual technology among virtual technology novices. One downside is that this program occasionally caused dizziness; it may have been over-stimulating to some users’ senses.

 

Two key qualities that appear to enhance this program are the incorporation of personalization and socialization features. By allowing users to customize their avatars, including their sex and clothes, users can feel more immersed and personally engaged in the virtual environment. Also, the ability for users to interact with other users virtually via the voice chat function appears to facilitate awareness beyond one’s own virtual identity to the identities of others, and of how one can interact and socialize within a virtual community.

 

Technologies incorporated:

Digital kiosks, 3-D virtual reality technology, and voice chat

 

Internally or externally produced:

Externally

 

Entry Contributor and Date: Caitlin Markey, 1/29/2011

 

Related projects:  

None

Comments (1)

Mary Whitworth said

at 11:36 am on Feb 9, 2011

I found the use of the 3-D virtual world fascinating and would be fun. I think it would appeal to younger visitors but for older adults even those with some tech knowledge would not spend time interacting in 3-D form.

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