MonkeyBook Interactive at the Chemical Heritage Foundation
- By Kathy McHoes
- July 17, 2012
Client: Chemical Heritage Foundation
Project: Alchemical Quest MonkeyBook Interactive
The Chemical Heritage Foundation partnered with Night Kitchen Interactive to create an interactive installation to provide visitors with an engaging interpretive experience for exploring historical texts. Challenged with the practical limitations of exhibiting rare books, we combined a digital reproduction of two alchemical books with interactive technology to bring the books to life for their latest exhibition, The Alchemical Quest.
The exhibition explores the processes, equipment, and applications of alchemy leading up to and during the Age of Enlightenment. Highlighting the valid scientific principles of alchemical experiments that contributed to our understanding of metallurgy, distillation, and chemical medicine, the exhibit explores the science that ultimately transitioned into what we now know as chemistry. The interactive book immerses visitors in the alchemical quest by highlighting specific objects in the images to reveal hidden meanings and obscured metaphors.
Presented with the challenge of exhibiting rare books, the interactive provides a new approach to experiencing the alchemical texts by enabling visitors to turn the pages of the digital book, providing visitors with a tactile, intuitive, and enjoyable experience. Animations are coupled with literal translations and interpretive information on the pages, allowing visitors to dive deeper into the hidden secrets revealed in the alchemical books.
The interactive uses the innovative “MonkeyBook” hardware, which mimics the experience of a physical book. The MonkeyBook hardware projects on the underside of a touch surface and uses gesture recognition software to detect a visitor’s movements and actions, providing an immersive experience with the digital book that responds to page turning actions and tactile navigation.