75. Museduino: Using Open Source Hardware to Power Museum Exhibits
Welcome to museum archipelago. I'm in Elsner. Museum archipelago guides you through the rocky landscape of museums. Each episode is never longer than fifteen minutes. So let's get started on museum archipelago. We focus on power in museums on how cultural institutions have a tremendous amount of unchecked power. The power takes many forms and one of these forms is control over the technology that delivers museum content to visitors from a button. That plays a bird call when you touch it to a projection screen. That plays a story about the battle of Gettysburg when you get close to it. Every museum. Interactive requires a technological solution. Oftentimes museums will purchase proprietary solutions. Oftentimes they're very expensive especially to maintain them and if they break you are sort of forced to rehire the same company or rebuy new equipment. An can be fairly costly really quickly. This is Ryan Trujillo. Lead developer of the Cultural Technology Development Lab at New Mexico Highlands University. My name is Ryan Trujillo. I'm the lead. Developer of the Cultural Technology Development Love at New Mexico Highlands University and also a instructor of a software design. The cultural technology development lab is an RND program were university faculty and Students. Museum professionals and other partners work together on technology and design solutions for cultural institutions through working with these institutions across New Mexico and the US Trujillo realized that one way museums can avoid expensive. Proprietary solutions to their technology needs is by choosing open source alternatives so using open source hardware. We can basically solve that issue of cost by using fairly inexpensive off the shelf components from various electronic suppliers. And that's how mused we know came to be used. We know is an open source hardware controller designed specifically to be used in museums using this hardware controller which is about the size of an alkaloids ten and a little bit of Technical Knowledge. Museums can create and control their own interactive's instead of always hiring an outside company rebuilt. Delano to solve our own needs when building exhibits. It's all open source and so if we want to put it out there we can show anyone else how to build that and they can implemented in their museum. This is Jonathan Jonathan Liam professor of software systems design at New Mexico Highlands University. Either they can by buying same parts or um just downloading our code if it's off the shelf components and then inserting their continente booth. Leigh Anne Trujillo see a huge potential to applying the open source model to museum hardware. The phrase open source comes from the Software World Open source. Software IS A DEVELOPMENT MODEL. Where the source code of a piece of software is freely available to anyone who wants it? We all use open source software everyday whether we realize it or not most. Atm's Web Servers and cash registers rely on open source software simply because it's the cheapest and most secure the source code is freely available so bugs identified and fixed quickly open source hardware projects like mused we know borrow from the software world by making the instructions of how to build and program them freely available. Yes you still need to pay for someone to manufacture the physical components but they are commodities. There's multiple vendors that can make you the exact same thing. We have used an open source program to create the printed circuit board design. And so if you wanted to anyone could download that circuit board design and they could actually have however many needed printed all of this together. Mix for a radical approach to exhibit hardware one where the technological solutions. The museum comes up with aren't confined to just one museum. One of the originators of the project said they like the links model of put it out there. Let other people make it better fix it? Build something for the platform that we make and then set it free in fact. That's exactly what happened with me. It was built upon another piece of open source hardware. A single board controller called our Duino. So let me is do we know is essentially a Dino Shield that extends the footprint of the yard we know via four RJ forty five or standard cat five cable cabling in different directions and we tested it with up to two hundred feet away. So if you're building a very large scale museum exhibit and you need a sensor in one location and output. Maybe ten feet away. You can control all of that with the one. We know using our system exhibit components tend to live far away from one another even in small museums because the gallery is designed for the visitor. Moving through the space. The specific problem is that unlike wireless devices that make up the Internet of things or Iot light bulbs or Buttons Museum Hardware needs to work one hundred percent of the time and right now the best way to do that is with wires like the standard cat five cable also from New Mexico where we work with a lot of cultural institutions. Where the Waller Adobe and there's always Not Great Internet connection in the space or also remote sites where there might not be Internet connection so we try to stay away from Iot boards and we use our system to have solid hardwired connections because those other systems could be a point of failure for the exhibit from the outside or even from the inside. If you're focusing on the museum from a purely experience perspective exactly what tools museums use to create. Interactive's might not seem like that. Big a deal but it is a big deal for the museum itself to own. It's means of production and we've primarily work with a lot of institutions who don't have a lot of funding to be able to purchase these proprietary systems so open source hardware allows us to build relatively inexpensive exhibits. Where WE'VE HEARD. Instances where maybe they purchase a piece of software from a company in like a month later. They didn't exist anymore. So that can happen to people especially if you're putting thousands of dollars into it hardware lock in Mirrors Software Lockin for example many museums use a video player. Product called a bright sign. These are closed source little purple boxes that Allow Museum staff to play and schedule videos. They're designed to solve a problem to help museums not have to worry about playing videos for their visitors but they also removed the ability of museum staff to fix the system. If something goes wrong. Duino is already installed at many museums and cultural institutions around the US like Acadia. National Parks Nature Center the Carlsbad Museum and the Bradbury Science Museum at Los Alamos National Labs from the beginning Trujillo and other members of the Muse Dino team have been sharing their knowledge with the wider museum. World we go to conferences and chairs missed. We know and also General Dino tutorials workshops at these museum related conferences to get people interested in open source hardware in hopes that they can start like thinking of ways to incorporate it into their museum exhibits. Dino represents a radical approach to exhibit technology design by allowing ziems big and small more control the installation and maintenance of the technology in their galleries the Muse doing team shows how the principles of the open source movement fit within the wider museum landscape. Since we have presented at different conferences. People got to take home us. We know so. We know that it's in institutions in several places the Santa Cruz Museum of art and history in California. They just recently did a product with it where they actually made a pneumatic tube system with amused no For donations so they said their donations went up like ten times the amount that they normally had before. And now when you donate a dollar you see this whole theatric thing happened where you to watch your money. Go UP IN TWOS. And some lights flicker and so they can be used in lots of different ways. You can find more information about Ms Duino as well as purchase links anti-tory all's at mused we know dot org and also keep your eyes open for us doing a workshop near you this has been museum archipelago the best reason to join club. Acapella goal is to support the research and work we do here on Museum archipelago but club archipelago members. Also get access to a bonus podcast feed including a museum movie podcast called. Archipelago out the movies this week. We dissect season seven episode sixteen of the Simpsons an episode called Lisa the iconic. Even though the episode came out in Nineteen ninety-six. It feels surprisingly relevant to today's museum landscape as Lisa discovers that the local historical society is propping up. Her town's founding myth for the benefit of those power. Get instant access to this and other great perks by joining club. Archipelago on patriotic. You'll find a full transcript of this episode as well as shown it's in links at Museum archipelago dot com. If this is your first show subscribe for free in your favorite podcasts player. And if this isn't leave US rating or review wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening and next time bring a friend.