Use of Haptics for the Enhanced Musuem Website-USC
Interactive Art Museum
Our mission for the Enhanced Museum project is to explore new technologies for the exhibition of three-dimensional art objects (Goldberg, Bekey, Akatsuka, and Bressanelli, 1997; McLaughlin, 1998; McLaughlin, Goldberg, Ellison, and Lucas, 1999; McLaughlin and Osborne, 1997; Schertz, Jaskowiak, and McLaughlin, 1997). Although it is not yet commonplace, a few museums are exploring methods for 3D digitization of priceless artifacts and objects from their sculpture and decorative arts collections, making the images available via CD-ROM or in-house kiosks. For example, the Canadian Museum of Civilization has collaborated with Ontario-based Hymarc to use the latter's ColorScan 3D laser camera to create three-dimensional models of more than fifty objects from the museum's collection (Canarie, Inc., 1998; Shulman, 1998). A similar partnership has been formed between the Smithsonian Institution and Synthonic Technologies, a Los Angeles-area company. At Florida State University , the Deparment of Classics is working with a team to digitize Etruscan artifacts using the RealScan 3D imaging system from Real 3D (Orlando, Florida), and art historians from Temple University are collaborating with researchers from the Watson Research Laboratory's visual and geometric computing group to create a model of Michaelangelo's Pieta with the Virtuoso shape camera from Visual Interface (Shulman, 1998).
In collaboration with our colleagues at USC's accredited art museum, the Fisher Gallery, our IMSC team is developing an application for the Media Immersion Environment that will not only permit museum visitors to examine and manipulate digitized three-dimensional art objects visually, but will also allow visitors to interact remotely, in real time, with museum staff members to engage in joint tactile exploration of the works of art. Our team believes that the "hands-off" policies that museums must impose limit appreciation of three-dimensional objects, where full comprehension and understanding rely on the sense of touch as well as vision. Haptic interfaces will allow fuller appreciation of three-dimensional objects without jeopardizing conservation standards. Our goal is to assist museums, research institutes and other conservators of priceless objects in providing the public with a vehicle for object exploration, in a modality that could not otherwise be permitted.
Our initial application will be to a wing of the virtual museum focusing on examples of the decorative arts: the Fisher Gallery's collection of teapots. The collection is comprised of 150 teapots from all over the world. It was a gift to USC in memory of the late Patricia Daugherty Narramore by her husband Roth Narramore. The Narramores, USC alumni, collected the pots on their many domestic and international journeys. Some items are by local artists, others by artists and makers from other countries, including China, Indonesia,...