I lead high-performing teams to create world-class exhibitions that evoke wonder, inspire creativity, and bring people together in memorable settings.
Science Storms is a 26,000 s.f. exhibition at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Visitors control dynamic, large-scale experiments related to physics and chemistry. They might manipulate fans to change the shape of a tornado vortex, or line up prisms to create a 30-foot rainbow, or change the size of water droplets to affect the height of a live flame. I led the team in the role of Creative Director after initially serving as the Senior Project Manager. Science Storms won the industry's top design awards from the American Association of Museums, Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the Themed Entertainment Association.
One large-scale experiment in the Science Storms gallery is the Combustion exhibit, a dynamic display which pitts fire against water. Visitors can change several variables: the quantity of fuel feeding the flame, the volume of water raining down from above, and size of the water droplets released from the spout. As the flame grows and shrinks, laser beams reveal the water droplets interacting with it.
In the photo above, two friends quickly turn their attention back to the battle of fire and water after changing a variable on the touch screen. Science Storms introduced sophisticated technology enabling visitors to control, rather than simply observe, science phenomena in a museum setting. However, we ensured that the technology used to control the phenomena did not upstage or distract from the large-scale experiments.
A tablet-based app in the The NASA Glenn Visitor Center enhances the gallery visit by weaving artifacts together into a single mission related to space exploration. Visitors interact with historic artifacts using augmented reality, virtual reality, and interactive media to complete their mission. I assembled and managed a team of in-house staff and external software developers on behalf of the Great Lakes Science Center.
Visitors use virtual reality to examine parts of this Apollo capsule as they complete a mission-critical task. Virtual reality reveals aspects of the capsule which are typically inaccessible to the public.
Visitors use augmented reality to "find" a rover tucked inside the gigantic Mars Airbag Landing System overhead. Airbags cushioned the fall of the Pathfinder rover when it landed on Mars.
I led this $1.7-million project which included the Skyline exhibition, a renovation of the Under Construction exhibit to incorporate principles of family learning. The original exhibit, which I developed ten years earlier, was wildly popular and has been replicated by children's museums across the country. and won the AAM Special Award for Cooperative Learning.
Multimedia stations capture visitors’ building activity, prompt dialogue and reflection, and guide families to produce a digital book with audio narration for download at home. In order to support collaborative learning, the Skyline exhibition uses design strategies borrowed from Reggio educators. For example, a camera built into this exhibit station snaps photos while the family builds, similar to the way Reggio teachers take pictures of children as they work.
A few subtle changes to the design of the construction materials tripled the amount of time girls invested to match that of the boys. These changes ultimately enhanced the gallery for everyone:
My art and technology displays have captivated visitors of all ages at events including Brickworld LEGO® Convention, the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, Comicon Erie, Rome Maker Faire, and Association of Science-Technology Centers. I developed flexible circuits, fire-retardant conductive tape and paper-thin LEDs in order to embed LEDs and sensors in novel materials such as LEGO, duct tape, and furniture. I hold three patents with another patent pending.
This LEGO installation features a fireworks lighting effect as a backdrop to a city of skyscrapers. LED matrices built into a LEGO wall are controlled by an Arduino. LEDs on the matrix are on a pitch that aligns with the LEGO grid, making it possible to selectively control which studs light up.
LEDs respond to gravity in this simulation tied to an accelerometer. Microcontroller, LED matrix, and power bank are packaged in an enclosure built entirely of LEGO parts.
Flexible circuit: A clear substrate (such as overhead transparency) is lasercut with holes to fit over LEGO. Then the substrate is placed onto a LEGO plate. The gray lines of tape run between the studds.
Paper-thin power grid: Ribbons of conductive tape run between the rows of studs on a standard LEGO baseplate. Paper-thin LEDs are pressed onto the power grid. The contacts wrap around to the back.