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Saturday, March 6, 2010

IED: Updates

Many things have evolved about the project that I am working on for Interactive Exhibit Design. I am still on the map idea, and because I am caught in 'the Vinland loop' (more on that later) I am still looking at mapping perceived Medieval Norse landings in what we now consider to be North America.

However, the project has morphed into two separate projects. The first is still the website, where my intention is to be ever-adding, so as to be as comprehensive as possible. I have actually progressed to the main page, and have a model that I am now adding the information to in HTML. To make it more professional I may have to look more at Java and XML, though I have to admit to being most comfortable in HTML.

The second part of my project has stemmed from the first. I wanted a group to be able to interact with my design. To do this, I at first thought I would just provide a touch platform for the website. This is still possible, as I am still working on the website. However, I am beginning to design a separate project, which will use a combination of Processing and an Arduino, which will also be a map of North America, and the Northern Atlantic Regions.

At first I was wondering if there was anyway that I could design a surface, where moving an item across that surface would result in a cursor moving in a corresponding way across the computer screen. Unlike a mouse, the top left corner of the board would also be the top left corner of the screen. The idea would be that I could have a physical map, and as you moved an object (I was imagining a Viking Ship) across the map it would also move across the map online. While this is in many ways theoretically possible, I have abandoned it because it is certainly outside of my capabilities.

My next idea was to build a mouse in the shape of a Viking Ship, and then use that to interact with the website. Again, while it is possible, and has not been entirely abandoned as a possibility, this in many ways is not challenging enough, because the most likely methodology would involve my buying wireless mouse parts and then superimposing artistic elements on the top to make it look like a Viking Ship. There are more complex ways to do this, of course, and I may yet look into this.

Where I have settled is to create a project which will convey rather simple information. On the computer I will design a program which can show you some basic locations on a map related to Norse landings in North America. Then I will create a map out of something like foam board, and possibly using the large size sign printer. In that map I will embed a series of switches in certain locations, so that when you press the switch, or in some way complete the circuit, the program will show you information about the place which you have just located.

This will be separate from the website that I am working on, because the website can have a lot more information about not only significant sites, but also about the sites that historians have interpreted as having significance for one reason or another. I hope, by Apr. 7th, to have something substantial to show in both these projects.

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