April 9-12, 2008
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Demonstrations: Description

Virtual Zipscribe

Michael Wilson, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA
Chris Weisbart, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Goal: to recreate the experience of preparing fossils using an interactive digital environment to create a virtual zipscribe.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has been in the process of recovering a mostly complete T-Rex skeleton (named Thomas) from eastern Montana for the last 3 years. Although most of the bones have been removed from the earth, they are still encased in rock (called matrix) and are awaiting final preparation. This preparation will be done publicly as part of a 2 year exhibit at the museum. A major portion of the preparation will involve the use of a small handheld pneumatic jack hammer the size of a large pen to carefully shave away the matrix (or rock) from the fossil.

In addition to digital dynamic signage explaining the process, museum guests will be invited to free a digital T. Rex bone form a matrix using an infrared light emitting mock zipscribe that will interact with the digital environment, allowing them to experience the process of preparing fossils while watching scientists doing the same.

The current proof of concept version of the virtual zipscripe is presented as a mouse based interactive on the site .

The experience will use an interactive narrative to allow museum guest to both succeed and fail (by destroying the specimen) in freeing fossils from the matrix with an immersive 3D environment, sound effects, and a digital paleontologist guide who will lead the guest in a 2-5 minute interaction.

This project has been designed and created by Michael Wilson and Chris Weisbart and at the demonstration we would like to present a copy of the final interactive (to be installed at the Natural History Museum on March 15, 2008) as well as explain the process of designing and creating a paleontology interactive for a 2 year exhibit.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Demonstrations]

Keywords: zipscribe, T.rex, paleontology, fossil, virtual, interactive, serious game