Body Metrics

The Tech Museum of Innovation

Wearable technology puts visitors’ emotional and physical experiences at the center of the museum.

Overview

For the first time, a museum exhibition has the same subject and audience—the visitors themselves. By giving visitors wearable devices as they participate in activities, we were able to provide insights into their physical and emotional reactions to exhibitions.

Services

User Research, Art Direction and Graphic Design, Software Prototyping and Planning, Creative Direction, Interactive and Installation Development

“The whole thing depends on a unique element—you. ”

Lath Carlson, Vice President for Exhibits, The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Details

Museums are often passive environments that offer a single mode of experience—they don’t respond to the fact that all visitors are different. We challenged ourselves to create a responsive environment that made every visit unique.

This exhibit tracks your emotions

Most commercially available wearables track your steps or calories burned. Body Metrics goes much deeper, using some of the most advanced technology available, from electroencephalograms, which measure brain activity, to muscle sensors. We used heart rate, muscle tension, motion, loudness, and proximity to others to calculate visitors’ physical, social, and emotional state in real time.

Feel your own adventure

Smart guidance is tailored to every visitor, allowing them to navigate the museum based on the kind of experience they want to have, be it calm or energetic, solitary or social. For example, visitors who want to test their focus might get a recommendation to visit the NASA space-walk simulator. It's a layer on top of existing exhibitions, inviting visitors to explore the museum and see how their bodies respond.

Reflect on your journey...and everyone else’s

At the Data Pool, visitors compare their results in greater depth, and see what they were doing at key physical, social, and emotional high points, resulting in a unique biometric signature that shows how their personal data can improve overall wellness.

By spotlighting the visitors themselves, the Body Metrics’ experience encourages participants to be aware of their bodies’ reactions to their surroundings. This allows for first-hand learning that can be applied throughout The Tech, creating a new depth of understanding.
“I think it’s safe to say it’s the most technically ambitious exhibit ever attempted at a science museum.”
Tim Ritchie, President, The Tech Museum of Innovation