Have you ever wished that historical objects could talk? Thanks to Touch and Learn, now they can! We’re Teen Fiction, and we’re looking to change the way that people interact with historical objects, using technology and data.
When someone first approaches the Touch and Learn display, they are immediately drawn in by the invitation to touch the display. Upon touching a coin, they are given a short, fun snippet of information that relates to the object.
At the heart of Touch and Learn is a Raspberry Pi. This inexpensive microboard computer registers when coins are touched, thanks to a capacitive touch hat, the same technology used in touchscreens. The Pi then plays an audio file, containing information about the object. The piece of python code that communicates with the Pi is modified from open source code available online.
The project is already in complete working order. Tweaked to suit the historical display in question, it could be used for any metallic object; coins, keys or tools. The possibilities are almost limitless. It would be best suited to museums, but could be used to liven up displays in almost any setting. Future adaptations could also include gamification, requiring the viewer to touch related items to add up the item to a certain value, or to pick the object relating to a related historical fact.
Information for the display is drawn from the Oral Histories, SA History Hub and the SA Memory datasets, as well as Trove data.
This project is a refreshing new use of stale datasets, giving historical stories a tangible, physical aspect. In a world where attention spans are increasingly limited, this project inspires curiosity, and will bring people together to experience history.
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