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2018: Innovative Experiences and New Products

Last Year Was Marked by Milestones for Ideum’s Hardware, Creative Services, Media Systems, and Custom Fabrication Teams.
Authored by
Hugh McDonald
Executive Producer

As a multidimensional design and fabrication company, Ideum always has a variety of projects in the works. But 2018 stands out as a landmark year in which we extended frontiers in every facet of our growing company.

Our Campus

In August, we celebrated the opening of our new Exhibit Fabrication Studio just a few miles from our main campus in Corrales. This fully-equipped workshop, outfitted with a CNC machine, lathe, mill, and extrusion saw, allows us to create extremely complex and elegant cabinetry and housings for digital exhibits in all kinds of environments. The greatly expanded capacity provided by our new workshop was critical in our development of completely new technological form factors, such as the set of custom multitouch conference room tables we created for Amada, as well as the custom cabinetry we designed for the Faces of the Fallen exhibit.

Creative Services Projects

In 2018, Ideum created engaging experiences on topics spanning the arts and sciences for museums, corporations, and other public institutions.

We debuted a suite of new exhibits for one of the world’s most visited learning institutions, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, that allow guests to immerse themselves in the technological wizardry and teamwork that make space exploration possible. Our On the Road with Bob Hope exhibit, developed in collaboration with the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, lets visitors travel with Hope’s legendary troupe of entertainers as they raise the morale of soldiers across the globe.

We worked closely with the XPRIZE Foundation to create an exhibit that highlights emerging medical technologies. Now on display at five high-profile science centers across the country, this high-tech experience lets visitors work together to diagnose a patient with a mystery illness, design their own medical scanner, and even measure their own pulse, temperature, and skin conductance.

We also worked with the Bureau of Reclamation to develop an entire collection of exhibits on the history and technology behind Hoover Dam, one of the 20th century’s most ambitious engineering projects. These exhibits are now entertaining visitors at the Hoover Dam Visitor Center on the Arizona/Nevada border.

Closer to home, we developed an exhibit with the Bradbury Science Museum to reveal the intricate workings of the human immune system and highlight cutting-edge computational virology research at Los Alamos National Laboratory. We collaborated with Native American artist Virgil Ortiz to realize his dream of a fantastic immersive experience combining Pueblo and sci-fi elements for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. And we built a new experience with the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum highlighting decades of innovation in lighter-than-air flight.

These are just some of the exciting projects we worked on in 2018. Our Portfolio page showcases many more.

Hardware and Software Innovation

2018 was also an amazing year for our hardware and software teams. Last year, we unveiled major redesigns of three of our multitouch products, including our all-in-one Portrait kiosk, the Pico smart coffee table, and our most popular multitouch table, the Platform. (In fact, the extruded-aluminum manufacturing process we developed for building rugged touch displays with extremely tight tolerances is patent pending.) We also launched our Inline Series of touch displays, which are designed to be seamlessly integrated into custom furniture, frames, and cabinetry.

In addition, we pushed boundaries in software development during 2018. We extended our work on tangible user interfaces by introducing Tangible Engine 2.0, a major revision of Ideum’s groundbreaking tangible user interface software. Our new RFID utility makes it easy for users to switch between applications and access system-level operations with a simple keyfob swipe. And we also developed an exciting new set of smart tangible prototypes that greatly expand the interactive features afforded by these interfaces.

We showcased many of these innovations at numerous industry events, including EventTech, the Museum Computer Network conference in Denver, CodaSummit, the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the American Alliance of Museums conference in Phoenix, and the American Library Association conference in New Orleans.

Awards and Community Involvement

Ideum won several awards in 2018 for our Exploring Pueblo Pottery project, including a prestigious Global Design Award from SEGD (the Society for Experiential Graphic Design).

For the second year in a row, Ideum has been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360™ as one of the top American companies who have mastered the intricate art and science of growing a business.

We also officially inaugurated our Technology for Our Community program, through which we donate digital equipment to local nonprofits, community groups, and educational institutions. In 2018, we donated equipment to the Corrales Fire Department and Bernalillo High School through this program. For the third year in a row, we were proud to support Big Brothers Big Sisters by bringing digital interactives to the annual Discovery Fest at the Albuquerque Convention Center. And we were particularly proud to be recognized with a 2018 Creative Bravos Award for our work with the Albuquerque community.

Looking Forward

We are excited to start the new year with multiple innovative projects on the horizon. In fact, we’ll begin 2019 with several large-scale immersive installations across the nation, including exhibits at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, the Cayton Children’s Museum by Sharewell in Santa Monica, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and the Albuquerque BioPark. We are also developing custom 86” multitouch tables for Science Museum London.

We’re also honored to continue our collaboration with space scientist Hugh Hudson of the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory We worked with Hugh on the 2017 Eclipse Megamovie Mobile project to create a citizen science app that allowed visitors to capture images of the event as it swept across North America—and we’re glad to announce that we’ll be releasing an updated app for the 2019 eclipse in South America. Our team is traveling to Argentina in July to see the eclipse first hand. We’ll post articles and images about each of these projects and more in coming weeks and months.

As always, we extend our thanks to everyone we were fortunate to work with in 2018, and to our very supportive local community. We’re looking forward to more innovative collaborations in 2019!