• The New Cooper Hewitt

    The visitor experience at a massive scale

First-of-their-kind multitouch tables and walls at the Smithsonian Design Museum

Custom designed touch tables and touch walls help transform the visitor experience

The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York City has completed a major renovation. The New Cooper Hewitt Experience has added 60 percent more gallery space and offers a “new and invigorated visitor experience, with interactive, immersive creative technologies.”

At the heart of the New Cooper Hewitt Experience are a series of large size, high-resolution multitouch media tables. Designed to accommodate multiple simultaneous users, these tables allow groups of visitors to explore and interact with the Cooper Hewitt collection and other experiences.

For this project, Ideum designed and developed four massive 4K UHD 84” multitouch tables along with a half-dozen 55” tables and touch walls. All-in-all, Ideum shipped two tons of hardware to New York City for the opening. The 84” 4K touch tables use projected capacitive touch technology, the same technology found in popular tablets and smart phones. The 84” UHD 4K tables are a first at this size and resolution with capacitive touch technology.  The design for these custom touch tables is based on our long experience in developing multitouch table products.

In addition, these unique touch tables have 10 NFC (near field communication) gateways allowing visitors to “check in” with an interactive pen that allows them to personalize their interactions with museum objects. Visitors can draw on the tables and keep track of the objects in the collection that they interact with.  The New Cooper Hewitt Experience is looking to change the way in which museum visitors learn about design, making them active participants, encouraging them to draw and play.

Building in support for the pen and for multiuser interaction provided additional technical and design challenges. Ideum integrated all this new technology into the systems, providing a robust platform allowing up to 10 users to simultaneously interact with each large multitouch table.

The many large multitouch tables that can be found at the new Cooper Hewitt experience are designed to allow groups of visitors to interact with digital items in the collection simultaneously. The tables are both the mechanism for learning about items in the collection as well as digital gathering places in which visitors can talk about the objects they are seeing. Along with the team at Cooper Hewitt, Ideum worked with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Local Projects, and Make Simply in designing the New Cooper Hewitt Experience.

The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum is located at 2 East 91st St. in New York City. The New Cooper Hewitt Experience opened to the public on December 12th, 2014. Since the opening the exhibition has been featured in the New Yorker, Interior Design Magazine, and many other publications.

Back To Projects