CAREER FEATURE

First-hand, immersive full-body experiences with living cells through interactive museum exhibits

A museum exhibit that enables direct full-body interactions with living microbes immerses human visitors into the microscopic world and could inform the design of future educational life-science technologies.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The immersive museum exhibit Human-Microbe-Interactive (HMI-Dance) enables full-body interactions between visitors and living microbes.
Fig. 2: Three exhibits were developed for a comparative user study.
Fig. 3: The three exhibits showed differences in their resulting visitor engagement.

Change history

  • 24 October 2019

    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

References

  1. 1.

    National Research Council. Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits (National Academies Press, 2009).

  2. 2.

    President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future (General Books, 2010).

  3. 3.

    McLean, K. Planning for People in Museum Exhibitions (Association of Science-Technology Centers, 1996).

  4. 4.

    Pallud, J. Inf. Manag. 54, 465–478 (2017).

  5. 5.

    Falk, J. H. et al. Curator (N. Y.) 47, 171–198 (2004).

  6. 6.

    Dancstep, T. et al. Curator (N. Y.) 58, 401–422 (2015).

  7. 7.

    Yoshida, R. et al. Experience-based learning support system to enhance child learning in a museum: touching real fossils and “experiencing” paleontological environment. in Proc. 12th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology 1–4 (ACM, 2015).

  8. 8.

    Bybee, R. W. Sci. Child. 50, 7–14 (2013).

  9. 9.

    Hakovirta, M. & Lucia, L. Nat. Biotechnol. 37, 103–104 (2019).

  10. 10.

    Sia, S. K. & Owens, M. P. Nat. Biotechnol. 33, 1224–1228 (2015).

  11. 11.

    Purnick, P. E. M. & Weiss, R. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 10, 410–422 (2009).

  12. 12.

    Gootenberg, J. S. et al. Science 356, 438–442 (2017).

  13. 13.

    Stark, J. C. et al. Sci. Adv. 4, eaat5107 (2018).

  14. 14.

    Riedel-Kruse, I. H., Chung, A. M., Dura, B., Hamilton, A. L. & Lee, B. C. Lab Chip 11, 14–22 (2011).

  15. 15.

    Cybulski, J. S., Clements, J. & Prakash, M. PLoS One 9, e98781 (2014).

  16. 16.

    Lee, S. A. et al. Trap it!: a playful human-biology interaction for a museum installation. in 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2593–2602 (ACM, 2015).

  17. 17.

    Hossain, Z. et al. Nat. Biotechnol. 34, 1293–1298 (2016).

  18. 18.

    Washington, P., Samuel-Gama, K. G., Goyal, S., Ramaswami, A. & Riedel-Kruse, I. H. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 116, 5411–5419 (2019).

  19. 19.

    Diehn, B. Science 181, 1009–1015 (1973).

  20. 20.

    Tsang, A. C. H. et al. Nat. Phys. 14, 1216–1222 (2018).

  21. 21.

    Gerber, L. et al. Interactive biotechnology: design rules for integrating biological matter into digital games. in Proc. First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG (DiGRA, 2016).

  22. 22.

    Ellenbogen, K., Dancu, T. & Kessler, C. Microscope imaging station summative evaluation. https://www.exploratorium.edu/sites/default/files/pdfs/MIS_Summative.pdf (Exploratorium, 2004).

  23. 23.

    Serrell, B. Paying Attention: Visitors and Museum Exhibitions (American Association of Museums, 1998).

  24. 24.

    Harvey, H., Havard, M., Magnus, D., Cho, M. K. & Riedel-Kruse, I. H. Hastings Cent. Rep. 44, 38–46 (2014).

  25. 25.

    Hazari, Z. et al. Sci. Adv. 3, e1700046 (2017).

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Riedel-Kruse laboratory, N. Cira and R. Taylor for general help, and the Exploratorium staff, K. Boyd, R. Cushing, L. Humphreys, A. Knauft, M. Kroning, R. Soleto and P. Taylor for supporting the installation, user studies and data collection. This work was funded by NSF grant 1612831 and in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. All user studies were done according to IRB 00007807 at the Exploratorium.

Author information

Project idea: I.H.R.-K, S.A.L., J.M., K.Y.; manuscript preparation: A.L., J.M., I.H.R.-K; hardware: A.L., S.A.L., A.W.; software: A.L., SA.L., C.B.; installation: A.L., C.B.; user study design: J.M.; data analysis oversight: J.M.

Correspondence to Ingmar H. Riedel-Kruse.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Tables 1–11 and Fig. 1

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Video 1

Users of HMI-Dance at the Exploratorium catching cells. The visitor silhouettes are captured in real-time and projected as light into the microbial world where their silhouettes can interact with Euglena cells. The top panel shows the view on the large screen on which the visitor silhouettes and cells can be seen. The smaller inset on the bottom shows the visitors. Voices and images are modified to preserve anonymity. To generate the top panel, the projection is recorded via a display duplicator. The resulting image is then rectified through software to approximately represent how the actual display would appear to a visitor (compare to Supplementary Fig. 1).

Transcript of the user dialog:

[0:00] Visitor 1: Catch one. [O.]K.

[0:02] Visitor 2: I don’t wanna catch one.

[0:03] Visitor 1: How am I supposed to catch one?

[0:06] Visitor 1: (Laughs)

[0:12] Visitor 1: How do we catch one?

[0:16] Visitor 1: I’m not tall enough.

[0:23] Visitor 1: I caught one!

[0:25] Visitor 1: Oh – I let it escape.

[0:30] Visitor 1: We’re supposed to make like a circular form.

[0:35] Visitor 2: What game are we playing?

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lam, A.T., Ma, J., Barr, C. et al. First-hand, immersive full-body experiences with living cells through interactive museum exhibits. Nat Biotechnol 37, 1238–1241 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-019-0272-2

Download citation