Creating a Digital History Installation
This interactive map was made by 7 young students from the French high school, Lycée Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves at Carquefou near Nantes. The installation was built for the renowned contest, ”Concours national de la résistance et de la déportation” which remembers the resistance and deportation during World War II.
In the beginning, the team had the idea of a wooden board with interaction points, like something you can find in a museum. This required the help of their History, Physics and STEM teachers. The installation would explain to the audience the journey of a few people during this sad period of history.
The purpose of the project was to create an experience, where people could read real stories told in a creative way.
When starting this project, the students tried to use an Arduino with capacitive sensors, but this would have drawn attention to the engineering, instead they wanted to focus on the creative execution.
One of their teachers already had experience with the Touch Board for personal projects and recommended they use it due to its easy setup out of the box. By having a powerful tool that was already pre-programmed, the students had the ability to focus on the narrative they wanted to tell.
The interactive installation had to be sent via post to the contest. The wall was going to be made out of plywood, so the question was how to make it portable. In the end, the solution was to split up the wood into 6 triangles and engrave the art into the wood.
Using triangles also symbolised the deportees, who were marked with triangles. The design was engraved into the wood, for which they used Inkscape, an open-source vector graphics editor, and drew the European map and also included details like paths.
The wood was split into 2 layers, with Electric Paint in-between. This allowed them to turn each photograph of a deportee into a proximity sensor and play its corresponding story when touched.
The challenging part was to paint clean paths, using the conductive paint, as it was quite small, so they used large masking tape and low power setup on the laser cutter machine to cut just the tape and not the wood. They then tested the magnet lock between the two parts of the board, in order to have an easy and clean electrical continuity.
The project won the first price in their district, at the national contest in October 2019.
The audience really liked the magic of interaction and thanks to the hidden set-up, they could easily focus on the voices. The Touch Board and Electric Paint helped them to create a high-quality installation, that was easy to assemble and also create the interactivity they wanted.
This is a great example of how to use the Touch Board Starter Kit and create a learning environment, where people can experience diverse, interactive projects.
Images & Video: Lycée Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves
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