Creating a mini me: Playing with 3D printing

photo (13)

As part of the Digital Frontiers exhibition I have been experimenting a bit with 3D printing.  This is why working in a university is brilliant as there is so many clever people and bits of kit about who will let you have a bit of a play.

3D tech is becoming quite big in museum discussions right now, and many museums are looking to embed 3D features permanently into their museum services but there are a few challenges to do this. Check out Andrew Lewis’ from the V&A’s post about How ready is 3D for delivering museum services? And my post from bits to blogs about Crapjects.

Because 3D is emerging and is turning out to be a playfully disruptive technology I felt it was important to experiment with just what could be done relatively quickly with 3D tech for an exhibition.

A couple of months ago I had myself scanned quickly by Jan Boehm and John Hindmarch from UCL Engineering,  Virtual Environments, Imaging & Visualisation which was then printed out with Andy Hudson Smith’s (CASA) 3D printer and it produced this prototype:

3D Me!Last night Steve Gray and I had another play, this time creating an object model mesh with a Kinect.  We used a Kinect  and  the software ReconstructMe.

Microsoft’s Kinect is an awesome piece of tech.  Instead of game play you can use its Infrared sensors to do depth of field scanning!  We were trying to work out a re-usable workflow, so we could then scan everybody! We started with a desk drawer and moving the kinect around but that didn’t really cut it.  Eventually with a bit of tinkering we has success with an office swivel chair is to allow the object (aka me) to revolve slowly in front of the Kinect!

The scans produced are not faultless, but they are really very good for such simple and cheap kit.  We (I say we, but actually Steve) cleaned up the scan using free tools. Here is a scan of myself showing the problem areas. This is in MeshMixer:

3D me in MeshMixer

3D me in MeshMixer

The final result was using a mix of MeshMixer and MeshLabs and NetFabb Basic to fix gaps in the models.

3D Steve and Claire

And if you so wish, you can download and print either Steve or me, or both of us out! We added ourselves to thingyverse.  Now everyone can have a mini Claire!  since last night there’s already been 12 downloads of us! weird!

Can museums place an automatic value on their visitor generated content?

A quick ponder into visitor generated content and value classification.

Twitter has introduced new metadata for tweets; with the objective of helping developers filter out the most “valuable” tweets.  This immediately got me thinking about visitor generated content (VGC) in museums.  My PhD is grappling with the idea of impact and how you can go about measuring impact of VGC on museum experience.  Over the past couple of years working on QRator and the Social Interpretation project, it has become clear that VGC, impact and value are notoriously difficult to define, interpret and well basically study.

In essence, Twitter is going to be introducing new metadata for Tweets so that you will receive tweets tagged up with value levels; initially just no value, low and medium. No High value tweets just yet. The aim is to make it easier for developers to surface what is arguably the better and more interesting content from otherwise noisy or high volume tweet streams.

We had a similar problem with the Social Interpretation VGC in particular, a high volume of visitor comments, and no clear way of moderating, categorising or “valuing” the better quality visitor comments. As with most high volume unstructured data, finding and highlighting the signal out of the noise can represent a significant challenge.

The problem is that “value” is highly subjective and varies on the context within which it is being consumed. One visitor’s value is not the same as the next.  Nor is it likely to match what the museum defines as adding value.  The SI team at IWM experimented with gardening comments, but we didn’t come up with a criterion to work from, so it was up to the moderator at the time to decide. At the Grant Museum with QRator we are trying to come up with criteria to look at the visitor answers to the current questions, but this is after the point of visitor contribution, and is very much based on the museum’s perceived value of the response. Is value something you add in the post moderation stage? Who’s value? The visitors or the museums?

So, is Twitter’s new value algorithm something that can be used by museums to classify VGC?

If I’m honest, no I don’t think it is. Is it really possible to create an algorithm that can classify value of comments?  Surely value is judged by the reader?   Can an automated system really evaluate subjective factors and identify the most valuable conversations for each individual?  Doubtful.

But I will be watching how Twitter deals with concepts of value of tweets with interest.

Notes on Ross Parry’s Presentation: The end of the beginning: Normativity in the postdigital museum

Final set of Notes from ‘The Shape of Things: New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC’ conference at Leicester’s school of Museum Studies, part of the AHRC-funded iSay project focusing on Visitor-Generated Content (VGC) in cultural heritage institutions.  Ross’s talks always inspire and make me feel very insignificant in terms of theory in equal measure.

Ross Parry: The end of the beginning: Normativity in the postdigital museum

  • Based on new research into how 6 UK national museums
  • Are 6 national museums showing a national trend? Or just highlighting that those with money can play more?
  • naturalise ‘digital’ into their overall museum vision
  • Digital being naturalised within the museum…
  • 1980 paisley institute fox communication research- the museum in 1980
  • Connected museum
  • Normative
  • The duality of technology rethinking the concept of tech in organisations
  • Wanda Orlikowski – dynamic relations between information technologies and organizations over time
  • Has digital in museums become normative?
  • Structures of domination, structures of legitimisation, structures of signification.
  • Digital as a recurring motif
  • Digital being naturalised within the Museums vision and articulation of itself – once limited information on digital, forced to highlight ‘digital’ in strategies, organisational structures and projects has evolved to being incporated throughout.
  • A preparedness for a post digital org structure
  • Actively recruiting blended roles
  • The presence of digital thinking
  • Digital being part of the generative and ideation moment
  • Blended production
  • Strategising for a multiplatform future
  • No need for digital to be strategised separately.
  • post-digital museum is one where digital technology has become transparent: it has become so permeated into everyday activities that we no longer reflect upon or feel challenged by its digital character.  Personally I don’t think this is true in the practical and operational issues of museums.  It might resonate in Digital departments, but not throughout the whole of the museum.
  • What does post digital stance have for how we situate research?

New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC: Notes 4

4th  post of Notes from ‘The Shape of Things: New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC’ conference at Leicester’s school of Museum Studies, part of the AHRC-funded iSay project focusing on Visitor-Generated Content (VGC) in cultural heritage institutions.

Rolf Steier and Palmyre Pierroux: Social Media and Interaction Design in Art Museums

  • InterMedia, University of Oslo
  • The role of the affordances of social media and visitor contributions in museums.
  • CONTACT project, exploring the design of digital resources and social media to engage visitors with the work of Edvard Munch
  • The ‘Myself’ interactive:  Pose like munch to recreate his self-portrait.
  • Pose, photograph, caption and share their photos on Flickr stream.
  • I love the In-gallery social interaction with social media element in Munch
  • What is the role of social media in interactive activities in museums?
  • Interaction Analysis Ferry et al 2010, Jordan and Henderson 1987
  • Visitor or Museum controlled content?
  • Perception of content ownership

Rosie Cardiff: Tate Visitor Generated Content

  • By 2015 Tate want to be more open and receptive to ideas and debate; diverse range of voices
  • Vistor generated content has formed part of Tate’s core strategy to be more open and diverse
  • VGC projects at Tate go back to 2000
  • But does inviting VGC really help fulfil institutional aims?
  • How do we measure success in terms of VGC? Numbers, quality, debate, what?
  • number; diversity of voices; quality; evidence of debate; numbers visiting physical tate?
  • The value of measurement of VGC
  • Motivation of visitors – what do visitors expect when they contribute?
  • kids project, tate tales, run from 2004-present. what did kids in 2004 expect for 9 years in the future?
  • visitor expectation – How long should VGC remain active. Days, weeks, months, years?
  • What do the visitors expect to happen to their contribution after they have taken part?
  • would you expect something you wrote in a museum as a child to be around now you’re an adult?
  • If we use Flickr are we saying, We don’t want it on our actual website?
  • Planning for archiving and maintaining content beyond lifetime of project
  • From Rosie’s Abstract: “Over the years, Tate has consistently underestimated the amount of time and money it takes to manage and moderate projects of this kind. The volume of user generated content we host is continually increasing and at some point we have to ask ourselves, what are we going to do with this content? Has it served its purpose? Will we end up simply deleting it?”

La Sapienza: Open Museum: VGC as an emerging solution to a design challenge and Before VGC: user experience research as a key methodology for the development of digital interactive services within museal context

  • mobile Pass: smoother transition between activities  inside and outside the Museum;
  • VGC available around the City.
  • Projecting artworks onto museum facades to invite people to visit and discover more
  • Highlighting what visitors are seeing & doing inside the museum projected onto the facade of the museum outside
  • User Centered Design Perspective.
  • UCD user ethnographic map (uem)

New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC: 3 Social Interpretation and QRator

3rd  post of Notes from ‘The Shape of Things: New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC’ conference at Leicester’s school of Museum Studies, part of the AHRC-funded iSay project focusing on Visitor-Generated Content (VGC) in cultural heritage institutions.

My Notes on both Jeremy’s and Jack’s presentations are brief as I know both projects pretty much inside out.

Jeremy Ottenvanger – Inbound Communications as a catalyst for organisational change

  • A tale of two fiefdoms- who is responsible for responding to VGC
  • Characterising online contributions:
  • personal: emotional, opinion, personal information, anecdotes, family history
  • requests and queries: object info, valuation, family history, digitisation and licencing, offering material, access, history, general/website
  • informational: new information, corrections
  • online comments tend to be more thoughtful than in-gallery comments online commenters have sought out the content, so already have a deeper engagement with those specific items, rather than just coming across them while moving through the physical gallery.
  • important issue of sustainability of VGC. How do museums resource it in the long term?
  • IWM trying to find an internal workflow that was appropriately responsive to online comments
  • A gap between two departments – collections access and digital media
  • Sources of value:
  • External mission value- giving people what they want
  • Engagement through UGC contribution
  • Internal mission value- strengthening the missions values
  • Shaping future services
  • IWM don’t have a plan. Yet.

Jack Ashby: The Grant Museum and QRator

  • A turtle is a turtle. That’s a fact. How can visitors participate in Natural History Museums
  • For the Grant Museum the act of participation isn’t enough. It has to have a more in depth levels.
  • Are museum visitors unwitting guinea pigs?
  • allowing content to go live post-moderated
  • Both Areti and Jack raised issues about the subjective nature of moderating VGC.

New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC: 2 Areti Galani and My Great North Run

2nd post of Notes from ‘The Shape of Things: New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC’ conference at Leicester’s school of Museum Studies, part of the AHRC-funded iSay project focusing on Visitor-Generated Content (VGC) in cultural heritage institutions.

Areti Galani and Rachel Clarke: “Run mummy run”: negotiating communicative tensions in the design and use of digital installations that facilitate visitor-generated content in public exhibitions

I met Areti a couple of years ago at Museums and the Web 2011 where she was demonstrating some of the technology used in My Great North Run by Newcastle university’s culture lab and GNM_Hancock.  Not only because it is set in my home town, and in my favourite museum but because I love how the project mixed up the nature of digital and analogue technologies.  It was an interactive museum installation designed to extend visitor participation through personal reflection and contribution and combined three kinds of interaction: touchscreens, digital pens and a website. During this presentation I was really shocked by the amount of contributions that were rejected during the moderation process.

  • Can interactivity antagonise participation?
  • How can accessible technology lead to inaccessible participation paradigms?
  • My Great North Run – 2. Contribution routes and multiple contribution forms
  • C.60000 in gallery users
  • 13,000 contributions in 93 days
  • 53 online contributions- all published
  • difference between quality of the visitor contributions in-gallery vs online (though of course ‘quality’ is a highly subjective term)
  • Balance between what is considered meaningful curated content with more open social network platforms that encourage active participation.
  • 93% rejected contributions! What moderation system was used?  8% of which made it through the moderation process and became part of the exhibition.
  • Could building in some delay in the process of contributing in-gallery lead to better quality contributions?
  • Will a doodle ever become a contribution? Why do we always assume that a textual visitor contribution is better and of a higher quality and therefore more relevant?
  • The novelty of the technology: ‘pen-happy visitors’ used the technology for the sake of interacting but didn’t know what to do after picked up the pen.
  • When does a contribution become part of the narrative?
  • Many interrelated emerging narratives
  • Temporary co-existence with museum narratives of celebration.
  • Empathetic, situated, embedded
  • 3 communicative tensions present in digital installations that encourage visitors to generate and contribute content in exhibitions:
  1. how lowering the barriers to participation through technological decisions may affect the quality of the contributed content as well as the experience of the contributors;
  2. how the tension between the curatorial desire to enable user-participation while maintaining a coherent and aesthetically consistent curatorial narrative is un/resolved
  3. how visitors negotiate the ‘private’ and the ‘public’ when contributing content.

Key Point to consider: Digitally-mediated participatory installations continue to occupy the ambiguous space between audience engagement and exhibition interpretation, with an impact on both how visitor-generated content is collected and archived by institutions and also how displays facilitating visitor-generated content fit with exhibition designs. 

New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC: 1 Mia Ridge and Crowdsourcing

Last Friday I spent the day in Leicester for the 2nd day of  ‘The Shape of Things: New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC’ conference at the school of Museum Studies, part of the AHRC-funded iSay project focusing on Visitor-Generated Content (VGC) in cultural heritage institutions.

It was a fabulous conference, and perfectly timed for my PhD research, the organisers, Giasemi Vavoula and Jenny Kidd, did a great job on the conference programme with a great combination of academic papers and practical case studies.

Firstly to be honest, I haven’t really used the term Visitor Generated Content (VGC) before. I don’t really like the term User Generated Content (UGC) and swapping user for visitor doesn’t solve my dislike of the term. But I can see why as terminology both work.

Mia Ridge has already blogged her notes from both days of the conference and there will be lots on the conference blog, so these are my notes of useful concepts that I found helpful for thinking about my own PhD research. I’m splitting it into several posts other wise it will go on and on! Up first is:
Mia Ridge: The gift that gives twice: crowdsourcing as productive engagement with cultural heritage

I really enjoyed Mia’s keynote, she managed to fit lots in in a relatively short space of time. Mia focused on the different ways of thinking about crowdsourcing in cultural heritage, both in terms of the process and the outcomes.

  • Cognitive circus. The spare processing power of millions of humans brains. (edit – Mia has pointed out its cognitive surplus. However I feel cognitive circus is a much better term!)
  • Difference between VGC and crowdsourcing.  When there’s no clearly defined direction, shared goal or research question? This is not crowdsourcing – blurry definition.
  • The importance of creating a space for curiosity
  • The act of  looking creates a relationship with objects
  • Participatory project models -Contributory – the public contributes data to Aerojet designed by the organisation; Collaborative – both active partners, but lead by organisation and Co-creative – But who really has agency?
  • The ethics of crowdsourcing, Leveraging public participation driven by pleasure , not profit
  • Semantic gap, language used to describe objects, is not the same as the search and collection
  • Who participates in crowdsourcing? – Super contributors and drive-bys
  • Crowdsourcing before the web- 19th century natural history collection: 1849 Smithsonian
  • The OED was crowd sourced
  • Long history of crowdsourcing, but transformed by technology

Some useful Crowdsourcing Case Studies

  • Types of Crowdsorcing content: Images multimedia, game levels, research, object identification, family records, objects, documents, the list is en
  • Productive engagement
  • Definitions of engagement are a bit naff
  • What’s ‘engagement’?
  • attending
  • participating
  • deciding
  •  producing
  • Levels of engagement in citizen science –
  • level 1 participating in simple classification tasks
  • Level 2 participating in community discussion
  • Level 3 working independently
  • Crowdsourcing as a gateway to father activity
  • familySearch ‘stepping stones’ -Indexing and then can move to arbitration. Clear progression.
  • Motivations for participation -Altruistic, intrinsic, extrinsic
  • Validating procrastination and Enhancing the visitor experience