EDIT 2019 : With the widespread adoption of nfc communication by all major phone companies, the need for custom printing, while novel and more memorable is not needed. Experiences built around users taping points of interaction can now be incorporated as part of a native or web app. The original thesis was presented in OCT 2015.

Presentation day prototype of the project

Presentation day prototype of the project

The guided museum-going experience has evolved from docent led visits and information booklets to the addition of smart screens that are more informative and engaging. This project looks into an alternative manner of creating a more immersive user experience for museum goers. I examine the use of radio technologies to help users curate their own narrative, whilst also using these objects as a portal beyond the displayed collection. The process, I propose, is best defined in three steps: By using existing technologies to act as better signifiers, we have the opportunity to get more use out of digital kiosks. By 3D printing these smart objects, we are able to customize and make them relatable at a fairly low cost. In addition, by allowing the users to relate to these objects and take them home allows for a better relation to the museum.



Modern museums have to compete against a magnitude of other entertainment sources, in order for them to remain profitable and stay a vital part of community, they more than ever need to be desirable for their visitors. Most museums are trying to solve the problem of capturing their visitors’ attention, having them engage with their content and lastly leave with the desire to return. This content needs to act as a hook, which leads to a higher return rate for interaction with both physical and digital artifacts. In order to accomplish this, museums have started to develop experiences beyond the cabinet.

As an applied prototype, I have designed a smart object that acts as a ticket, a bookmark tool and a portal back to curated digital collection. By using NFC tags embedded in customizable 3D printed objects, I was able to show the flexibility a product like this can have. These tags can act as initiators, while the NFC readers can be attached to the interactive displays or kiosks. I used the ADA Fruit Industries NFC shield for Arduino, to act as a reader and writer for this prototype.With their object in hand, users can navigate the exhibit according to their own liking, tagging objects they like and storing them onto their online profile. Lastly, when the users leave the exhibit, they get to take the object home as a souvenir. The tags are multi functional in a sense, as that they can be read by most NFC enabled smart devices (i.e. Smart phones and tablets).

A summary of the user journey and the actions a unique user would initiate can be found below:

A detailed analysis, combined with different use cases can be found in the complete paper here.

Feel free to contact me for more information and demos.

Video of prototype.