Visitors utilize the "Magic Mirror" interactive inside MoPOP's 'Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume' exhibition.
Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume is now open at MoPOP, where you can find more than 70 original pieces, including ball gowns, sorcerers’ capes, military uniforms, tiaras, and of course glass slippers.
The exhibition explores the vision, process, and craft used to create the costumes worn by some of the biggest names in entertainment. Heroes and Villains features costumes from some of Disney’s kindest heroes and toughest villains, as well as insights from designers, photographs, a special film, and immersive interactives.
One of those interactives available for use inside MoPOP's newest exhibition is the "Magic Mirror," inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, that allows visitors to "try on" several of the costumes showcased throughout the Heroes and Villains gallery.
To learn more about the how the "Magic Mirror" works, we caught up with MoPOP's Sr. Interactive Technology Producer Brad Purkey, who designed the experience alongside MoPOP's curatorial team. Read on!
What can visitors expect to see when using the Magic Mirror interactive inside Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume?
Brad Purkey, MoPOP’s Sr. Interactive Technology Producer: The Magic Mirror interactive in Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume allows visitors to “try on” several of the costumes featured in the exhibition. Using a custom two-way mirror layered over a large video screen, the costumes will appear over your reflection in the mirror. The Magic Mirror will feature nine costumes that are on display in the exhibition from films like Cinderella, Tron, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mary Poppins, Maleficent, and more.
How did the Magic Mirror concept come about?
Brad Purkey: We started thinking about this interactive experience about a year ago, so we knew we wanted to try to create a touchless user interface. At first, we experimented with some simple microcontroller-based gesture controllers, but found them to be less accurate and reliable than we had hoped. That led us to a technology that we had used once before in our Star Trek Transporter interactive: stereo depth cameras. With a depth camera and some specialized skeleton tracking software, we are able to track a visitor’s location, size, and position, and use that data to drive the Magic Mirror interactive. To start the experience, you simply stand on a marked spot on the floor. The costumes that appear on screen will scale to match your height and simple gestures like raising your hand allow you to navigate through the experience.
In constructing the Magic Mirror interactive, how was accessibility considered?
Brad Purkey: For the Magic Mirror, we are able to track visitors that are seated in a wheelchair, and we’ve also built in a default time-based navigation system, so that even if a user can’t raise their arm or hand to navigate, they will still get the full experience.
Another interactive inside 'Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume' is "Getting Into Character," a projection-based experience that allows visitors to explore materials, colors, textures and forms that costume designers use to help define a character.
How has the COVID-19 era impacted interactive technology at MoPOP?
Brad Purkey: I would say that one of the silver linings of the COVID-19 era is that it has forced us to think differently about how visitors interact with our content. Touchscreens are popular and effective tools for delivering dynamic content to museum visitors, but they are also ubiquitous and have some obvious drawbacks in the age of COVID-19. Over the last year, we have been experimenting with lots of different technologies, including hand/body/head tracking, gesture sensing, presence detection, and voice control, among others. Interestingly, a lot of these technologies can be used to replace touch-based interactions but can also be used in more passive ways. This has pushed us to think more about how interactive content might be more reactive to visitors instead of requiring their proactive engagement. So, be on the lookout for more interesting interactive technologies in future MoPOP exhibitions!
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