Aberdeen Science Centre uses Inside Explorer to exhibit interactive 3D visualizations of animals in Scotland, as part of the brand-new Life Sciences Zone.
Aberdeen Science Centre (ASC), which was long known as Satrosphere, has been an important education resource in the North-east for more than 30 years. Established back in 1988, ASC was the first science centre in Scotland and its ethos of interactive science discovery is still a cornerstone of everything it does. The centre you see today has been completely modernised over the past two years as part of a major £6m redevelopment project.
Bryan Snelling started as CEO of Aberdeen science centre halfway through the redevelopment project, in December 2019, having worked 6 years as CEO at the Gordon Highlander Museum.
Leading a science centre through a pandemic comes with its own challenges, but for Bryan, 2020 was also filled with the joy of seeing a fully revived science centre take shape. ”Everything is new at the centre! Only the outer walls remain from the previous science centre as we have strived to redevelop the old tired looking centre into a brand new, fit for the 21st century visitor attraction.”, says Bryan. The centre has more than 60 new interactive exhibitions over two floors themed into six new zones:
- Life Sciences
- Make It, Test It
- A special area for the under-6s
- Shell Learning Zone
The brand-new experiences include The OPITO Theatre of Energy – the UK’s first immersive experience of its kind, RoboThespian – a chatty humanoid robot sponsored by the centre’s Digital Futures Partner, Equinor, and Inside Explorer – an interactive 3D visualization experience installed on a multi touch table.
Bryan strongly believes that visitors are looking for something different in the experiences they choose these days. As things move more towards digital and touchscreen offerings so should the experiences in the science centre move to reflect this demand. “Knowing that Aberdeen Science Centre is using the latest technology in its exhibits will enhance our reputation further as an excellent visitor and educational attraction.”
Huttinger Interactive Exhibitions, who was contracted by the centre for the development, design, fabrication, and installation of the new exhibits, recommended Inside Explorer in their original proposal to ASC. The range of fascinating animal 3D content based on actual CT scans linked well with the Life Sciences zone and was suitable for an older audience. Bryan sees that “Inside Explorer will increase knowledge already discovered through the other exhibitions in the zone.”
Determining which 3D content to exhibit in Inside Explorer was done via focus groups and staff members at ASC. Bryan mentions that they agreed to have a local slant and therefor only picked animals that could be found in Scotland. Everyone was then asked to look at the Interspectral website and pick their top 5 based on what they found most interesting and how they thought they could use the images to explain a concept to the general ASC audience either on the exhibition floor or as an addition to a workshop. Bryan acknowledges the fact that Inside Explorer is open ended and that more content can be added at any time.
Inside Explorer will be used primarily for self-discovery on the exhibition floor which is backed up by the knowledge of STEM Communicators onsite. Visitors can pan, zoom and peel away layers as well as cut into the subjects themselves using a virtual cutting tool and reveal the interior in stunning detail. Bryan mentions that ASC is looking into hosting a “Meet the Expert” series where these real time visualisations could be displayed during talks as well.