Scanners for Science of Spying exhibition


pickledonion ltd

the brief

The Science Of is a venture by the London Science Museum which creates science based shows designed to travel to museums around the world. Pickledonion ltd was comissioned to build two interactive installations for the Science Of Spying show opening simultaneously in London and Indianapolis. Rom and son supplied a mix of project management and design support to the project.

Body and brain scanners

Visitors in the role of trainee spies are faced with a difficult choice, whether to enter the mind reading brain scanner which may reveal their secret thoughts, or instead to be seen naked through their clothes in the body scanner. Upon making their choice visitors enter one of several scanning booths where both lighting and audio effects enhance the dual screen scanning experience. In reality both scanners are simulations based on developing technologies but the installation creates an unsettling experience, raising questions about privacy and surveillance technologies.

Escape scanner

At the end of the exhibiton visitors must ‘escape’ through a room sized scanner which detects human forms. In order to escape visitors must pass along an illuminated scanning wall infront of a large projected display which shows the outlines of shapes detected in the room by an infrared camera. This very large display occupies the opposite wall of the scanning room and confronts users as they enter. Visitors can see their own lifesize coloured outlines moving on the display in real time. If a shape is recognised as human an alarm sounds.
To defeat the scanner visitors must make themselves into non-human shapes, striking a wacky pose, crawling instead of walking, or joining with others into non-human-shaped clumps.
The escape scanner is a highly entertaining physical interactive experience providing a climactic high point at the end of the Science Of Spying show.