An exhibition concept for the Mathematical Cabinet in the German Museum in Munich

The task

In this project, a section of mathematics was prepared to enable an exhibition in the Mathematical Cabinet of the German Museum in Munich. At the end of the semester, a functional exhibiton was supossed to be created, which will, step by step, take the visitor to the chosen topic. This should have been prepared in such a way that the user, regardless of age or background, can learn something about this topic.

Since 1999, mathematics has been represented in the form of the Mathematical Cabinet in the German Museum.

The Concept

The topic of probability often looks very dry and complicated. Mostly, the tasks are therefore packed in games or puzzles. We have been inspired by various well-known games based on probabilities and decisions. The Telltale Games "Game of Thrones", "Walking Dead" or "Batman" for example, deal with different starting targets, depending on what decisions you make during the game. The events are influenced by the previous questions or decisions and, accordingly, you always get a different ongoing story. Our idea was to combine these concepts of consecutive events and their real probabilities. The player should be encouraged to evaluate the decisions themselves and thereby be introduced to the topic of probabilities in everyday life.

The gameplay is concerned with a story in which the user is to get from the starting point to the goal. This path is divided by different branches so that there are several ways to reach the destination. Gameplay is influenced by probabilities based on statistics and real-time data generated during the exhibition. Decision levels are organized by topic, so that the player receives similar information in each level of the game.

The Story

In order to playfully introduce the user to the didactic points, a story about the game was designed. The student or the visitor of the semester exhibition stands in the room in front of an empty vending machine. The user is informed that there is another machine on the ground floor of the building, which may still contain a few of the desirable sodas. The player must get at this point as fast and safe as possible to the other machine.

But there are several ways to get there. At each crossroad, a decision awaits him that influences his path and the likelihood of receiving a lemonade. If he arrives late at the other vending machines, the sodas are already sold.

The Structure

The playing field is built on the layout of the building of the university where the exhibition will stand. It consists of two parts. The first set-up is in a room at the university where the story of the game starts. Based on the story of the game, this represents a vending machine.

The vending machine consists of a 42-inch Samsung screen, which is vertically embedded in the construction. Between the basic composition of the structure and the screen, there is also a glass pane to enhance the impression of a vending machine and to prevent the user misunderstanding this as a touch display. To the right of the screen, a tablet is inserted at chest height, with which the player operates the game. To match the appearance of the exhibition to a real drinks vending machine, a beverage dispenser is mounted below the screen.

The Stations

The second part consists of the interactive stations, which are distributed in the university building. They are made of waist-high steals with either buzzers or sensors attached to them with whom you can influence the game.

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