A digital exhibition-catalogue system which allows visitors to browse its content and dwell on details of images, read accompanying texts and follow threads of information.
Panoptes builds upon the concepts of playful and aesthetic interaction combining functionality with playfulness and serendipity, thus offering an alternative to information kiosks used at museums for browsing item collections. The system comprises an augmented everyday object, such as oil mill, ship’s wheel, windmill etc. and two touch screens. Users can interact either by using the object or by touching the screens, providing navigation to the information through hotspots and magnification features. A visitor can browse all the available artifacts by blowing at the windmill or by rotating the object. The speed of the object affects the browsing speed but it may also trigger music pieces; rotation speed may affect the music playback speed if desired. Users can also send the information provided by the system by e-mail.
Apart from cultural heritage collections, Panoptes is available for commercial use in public spaces. For example, it has been installed as an innovative interacting system presenting traditional Cretan products and recipes (called “Oil Mill”). Oil Mill incorporates a miniature stone mill, through which it is possible to browse through an introduction to Cretan diet and culinary products. In more details, users can browse a digital album about Cretan diet, by rotating the metal handle of the mill, while real oil flows from one end of the system. The system also comprises lighted glass showcases containing museum replicas of ancient Greek pottery.
The technology that lies underneath the system is able to augment any physical object towards natural user interaction for browsing digital content related to a specific thematic area. To this end, the system is a powerful promotional tool in the tourism and cultural heritage domain.