Client: Museum of Science, Boston
Project: Robobees Exhibit
Challenge: To design a cohesive interactive space with the final location of the exhibit was unknown until after the kiosks went into production.
Role: Exhibit Designer
Robobees is a partner-based exhibition that delves into the challenges that currently face a team of engineers at Harvard’s micro robotics lab. As a leader in non-traditional STEM education, our goals were to enlighten the public on this cool new technology, to understand the multiple challenges that engineers and computer programmers can face in their jobs, and to excite visitors about STEM careers.
When developing the Robobees Exhibit, the biggest problem that I ran into was that this small exhibit was originally intended to live in a larger exhibition. However, when that plan fell through the wider museum powers-that-be were unable to locate and confirm the new site for this exhibit until 2 months before opening. I therefore had to design a set of kiosks that would be able to be configured in many ways, live anywhere, be approached from 360, be large enough to convey the information necessary and have presence, but small enough to fit almost anywhere. To address this, I created individual kiosks for each of the three Robobees engineering teams and a separate, larger kiosk where we could display a bee and introduce the project and challenges to visitors.
We also struggled with trying to convey to the public that the Robobees project at Harvard is still in progress. One way that I set to solve the problem was to give the exhibit a lab-like look and feel so that our visitors might feel like they are working on the same problems in the lab with the Harvard Engineers. I specified exposed steel frames, white Corian tabletops, “brushed steel” designboard sides, and metal graphic grippers to achieve the industrial feel.
For a little bit of fun and whimsy, we had polka dots CNC cut out of Styrene and laminated it with 1/4” Plexiglass, which became the backer layer for the graphics. To top it off, we added a pop of bright yellow painted MDO, which doubled as the wire chases.
Since this project was so successful, we will be adding one or two similar exhibits to this area in the upcoming months, which we will be called the “Tech Spot.”