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Digital Touch Replicas

It is a natural impulse to want to touch objects, however many museum artefacts cannot be handled because of the risk of damage and loss of material evidence that may affect future research potential.

Two new 3D digital technologies are being developed at Manchester Museum to make objects more accessible.

Probos Sensory Console - Haptics

Our goal is to create a ground breaking user experience that enables users to touch and interact with digitally scanned museum artefacts and works of art which is also addressing the needs of our visitors who have sensory impairments. Working with Stoke On Trent based Touch & Discover Systems and a few of the world’s leading museums we now have the first console in Manchester Museum that provides a universal 3D interactive platform with innovative haptic technology; this will enable users to interact with high quality digital scans of objects that would never normally be touched because they are too fragile or protected in a showcase.

Digital Touch Replicas

Accurate laser scanning and replication technology means a physical encounter with a replica object can now occur in the knowledge that the surface will be a faithful representation of the original. Engagement with replicas can be especially rewarding for our visitors with visual and sensory impairments. Creating a physical prototype and integrating novel touch sensor allows information to be strategically placed onto the object. When touched information is delivered as images, audio or video on an associated screen and tailored to the visitor’s needs.   An example of these interactives can be seen in the STFC funded Confuciusornis Sanctus fossil; that  was chosen to showcase the cutting edge research of scientists at The University of Manchester on the chemistry of fossil feather colour and this technology allows it to be related directly to the area on the surface of the fossil. 

For further information contact  Sam Beath

You can find out more about this work on the following websites: