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A journey through the world of urban nature

02 March 2015

A consortium consisting of entrepreneurs and the University of Groningen, headed by the Technology Centre of the Northern Netherlands (TCNN), worked on and completed the ‘Lucy & Friends’ collaboration project. The goal of the project is to create a travelling children’s exhibition. It takes them on a journey through the world of urban nature, on the basis of their own choices. The RFID technology , which adapts the displays to individual children’s preferences, makes this exhibition particularly unique.

Demonstration plant in Rotterdam

The children’s exhibition is aimed at children between 6 and 12 years old. A location to test the running prototype of Lucy & Friends was found in the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam. A demo exhibition was built under the name Pure Veerkracht (Pure Resilience) to allow children (and adults) to experience urban nature for themselves. The unique thing about this exhibition is that children are asked for their personal details and preferences at a login gate as they enter the exhibition, so that each child experiences his or her own personal exhibition. Screens at various locations greet the children by name and give them individual tasks.

While the child completes a task, the relevant display subtly lights up, cleverly drawing the child’s attention. The visitors’ movements are tracked to provide information about how long children spend looking at each display. This information is useful as it enables the museum to adapt the exhibition where necessary. Specialist knowledge of the collection and analysis of previous visitor movements also allows the museum to compile visitor profiles and identify links between objects.

Educational benefits

The routes taken by the children could also provide teachers with interesting material for the classroom. The data can be used to analyse various aspects of the children’s visit, such as their level of concentration.

Easily dismantled and rebuilt

When developing this exhibition, the designers wanted to create a construction that could be easily dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere. They developed smart boxes in which the objects can be exhibited and transported. The temperature inside the smart boxes can also be monitored and controlled. In short, the transport box doubles as an intelligent showcase, thereby reducing the costs of moving the exhibition. The entire exhibition is a simple construction, designed to be moved with great ease and efficiency. Some of the showcase elements can be expanded per module and all of them are easy to assemble. The entire exhibition can be built in a week and the exhibits set up within two days, whereas a ‘normal’ exhibition usually takes six months to construct.

The project was partly funded by the Innovation Performance Contract (IPC) scheme run by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) which included 6 SMEs from the Northern Netherlands.


Last modified:04 April 2018 3.50 p.m.

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