Perfecting the balance: a physical-digital science exhibit

31 Jan 2020

Perfecting the balance: a physical-digital science exhibit

On Monday 27th January, Andrew Manches and Claire Sowton (UoE) Sharon Macnab and Graham Rose from Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) were joined by Craig from PixelStag to test and discuss progress of the physical-digital exhibit designed through the Wellcome-Trust funded Children & Technology project ‘Co-creation of an embodied learning technology’ project. 

The images below show initial drawings of the exhibit, created by Graham Rose (GSC) alongside the balance beam itself.   

Balance beam sketches
Balance beam caterpillar

What is it for?  The exhibit draws on research emerging from the Move2Learn project, about how to design particular actions into exhibits to support early learning. For this exhibit, the design was informed by the research into how adults and children communicate balance ideas through gestures.

What does it do?  The exhibit offers both a freeplay and challenge setting, both requiring children to balance weights. The challenge setting has story backstory where children help a ‘yampish’ (Scots for ‘peckish’!) caterpillar cross a bridge to reach some tasty treats.

How does it work?  Without giving too much away, sensors housed in the physical balance provide information to the digital exhibit represented on the screen.  Weights placed on the physical balance will adjust the digital balance.  The digital component has been developed by Pixelstag and the physical balance has been built by product engineers 4C.

Funding for the development of the exhibit has come from a Wellcome Trust Institutional Partnership Translational Award.  More about the project 

What next?  The design team are moving into the final phase of development and testing. The exhibit will then be evaluated at Glasgow Science Centre and used as part of the public engagement activities for the Move2Learn project.