July 04, 2005

Touch Me

On Friday, Rebecca and I took a trip down to London to see the Touch Me exhibition at the V&A, after I'd read about it over at we make money not art.

Naturally, with a title like Touch Me, it was a very hands-on exhibition, with lots of things to play with - well worth a visit.

I'd already read about quite a few of the pieces online, but it was good to experience them "in the flesh". I think that rather than compete with the existing write-ups, I'll just provide links with the odd comment of my own:

  • The Watt? light. This wasn't working when we were there unfortunately, but we had a nice chat to one of the curators who came over to help us with it. Such an interactive and hi-tech exhibition provides quite a challenge to the museum, as they have to maintain what are often fairly fragile and unique pieces with a limited amount of access to the knowledge that actually created them. Particularly difficult when you have to cope with rampaging hordes of school children...
  • Intimate memory clothing
  • The lonely home bench. As I'd seen this online beforehand, I wasn't surprised when it suddenly moved - I can't say the same for all the other visitors!
  • Thups. Cups that you carry on your thumb. If you want some, you can buy them in the shop at the end...
  • Multi-sensorial radio. This was just strange. I liked the tactile feel of the rubber seating, but it was hard to work out how the rest of it worked - I just didn't connect with what it was trying to do.
  • Sexiest juicer in the galaxy. Unfortunately, it wasn't being demonstrated like it is in the photo in the link...
  • Sfera alarm clock - I guess it wouldn't work quite as well for someone who sleeps on the top bunk!

To my mind, they weren't the more interesting exhibits...

I finally got to have a go on the laser mobile keyboard that I blogged about ages ago. Although it was quite impressive that you could type on any flat surface, my attempts to type "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" were frustrating. My right hand kept wandering off the home keys, seemingly wanting to come to rest one key left of where it should be, and the lack of tactile feedback made it hard to tell if you'd hit a key or not. With some practice, I was getting more accurate, but I'm not convinced you'd get quick enough to prefer it if a keypad with physical keys and predictive text were available instead.

The Drift Table was a cool coffee table with a little viewport in the centre. Looking through the viewport gave you an aerial view of part of the UK, and you could cause the view to drift across the landscape by pressing on different sides of the table. A little display on the side let you know where abouts you were looking. Frivolous and fun.

My favourite piece was the PainStation. This is a great game; it reminded me of the game in James Bond where Bond and the villain battle it out whilst getting increasing electric shocks. You play Pong while holding your free hand down over a grille. If you miss the ball then your free hand either gets a blast of heat; or whipped with some rubber tubing; or given an electric shock. Rebecca was much better at returning the ball, so I got the majority of the punishments - however, when she got whipped for the first time she took her hand off the grille, and so lost the game! I want one of these for my next party!

Posted by Adrian at July 4, 2005 09:16 PM | TrackBack

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