As I wind down the first year of my Master’s program, I have had a chance to reflect on the different accomplishments achieved within the Cyberlab, the classroom, and professionally. I have had the chance to wear many hats beyond the typical “grad student” role. For example, I have been a server administrator, sound engineer, exhibit maintenance support, logistics manager, and lab ambassador…to name a few. So many different opportunities have led to new learning experiences that I had not anticipated. As there is no manual for setting up a “Cyberlab,” I feel I have so much more insight now to share with other groups that may attempt this in their institution for learning research.
As of this week, 30 cameras have been installed around multiple exhibits to capture interactions and movement. We now have great views of the octopus tank, the touch pools, wave tanks, the touchtable, touchwall, and Magic Planet. The image included in this post is an example of one such view in our Rhythms Room. Several cameras can be used to monitor the traffic flow and patterns as visitors circulate the center. Our BlackFly and Flea (facial recognition) cameras recently came in, which creates unique issues with mounting these small pieces of technology. We have enlisted the support of an engineer with access to a 3-D printer that can be used to custom build to our needs. We hope to have these cameras installed within the next few weeks to begin testing the facial recognition capabilities. More progress with each passing day.
One of the Cyberlab cameras captures the Rhythms Room at Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Today I am heading to St. Paul, Minnesota, for the Science on a Sphere workshop at the Minnesota Science Museum. As we have the Magic Planet exhibit (pictured above), a globe that displays different visualizations of environmental processes, this will be a chance to connect with other institutions that have this form of exhibit in a public space and talk about use and the direction of this technology. I am excited for the chance to help represent the Cyberlab and showcase what is in place at Hatfield Marine Science Center to support other researchers around the country and world. Hopefully we will meet some potential collaborators and new Cyberscholars. I am also looking forward to visiting a science museum I have not been to before. My perspective of the museum has changed, meaning that I often take a step back to analyze the exhibit and the interactions taking place around it. I need to remind myself to also be a “visitor” as I will be wearing my researcher “hat” plenty this summer!