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It's not brain surgery: Designing the Cognitive Technology Exhibition for the Exploratorium


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Neuroscience. It's hip. It's cool. It's something only PhDs understand, right?

Creating an immersive and educational museum exhibition on Cognitive Technology wasn't just a design challenge. It meant getting people past the idea that their own brain was too complex for them to understand. Working with a team of thirty cognitive technologists, game designers, virtual reality researchers and visual artists, we created a cohesive exhibition that felt both futuristic and approachable.

From translating research documents into language an 8th grader could understand, on to creating interactions that make the inner workings of the mind visible, all while managing a multidisciplinary team of experts spanning fields that rarely intersect, this talk will walk you through the process of making an exhibit for one of the nation's top museum's, the Exploratorium of San Francisco.

Published in: Science
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It's not brain surgery: Designing the Cognitive Technology Exhibition for the Exploratorium

  1. 1. Takeaways [the do’s from do not] • Timeline – Ensuring that everything from installation back through to PR and VIPs are set out in advance. • Budget – The larger the team, the more important it is to maintain a transparent budget. • Constraints – Setting real constraints – based on the above, as well as team capabilities and space requirements – is critical to keeping with timeline and ensuring that big dreams don’t have to get squashed late in the game. • Mission – Everyone – from the curator through to the individual creators – have to be signed on with the same mission, and willing to have all ideas and plans checked against it. • Ops – One brain to rule them all. Democracy is dandy, but with fixed timelines and deliverables, there has to be someone to make hard calls and answer to issues that may come up. • Capabilities – Making sure that every collaborator gets to play to their strengths, or – while communicating clearly that they’re heading into uncharted territory – explore new ground, means getting a list of what’s in the tool box from day one. • Testing – There is no substitute for testing in real time with the real final deliverables.
  2. 2. Alexis Finch AgentFin LLC - User Research | Brand Strategy - Oakland, CA [and beyond] AgentFin.Com @agentfin