Tiny Drifters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


Monterey Bay Aquarium


Monterey, CA

There’s a world in every drop. That’s what the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium is trying to convey to their visitors with the Tiny Drifters exhibit which focuses on microscopic sea life. Tiny Drifters allows visitors to “peer into a magnified drop of sea water” to see and interact with 3D rendered versions of microscopic sea life on a giant multitouch wall. Ideum collaborated with the aquarium and with Lindsay Digital in creating this truly unique multitouch installation. This installation was completed in 2011, more than a decade later the exhibit is still running.

Ideum designed and developed the hardware for the exhibit which includes better than high-definition resolution on a massive, seven-foot round multitouch wall. Two blended high-resolution projectors provide a seamless and sharp pixelless image on a grand scale. The custom IR (infrared system) can track hundreds of touch points and allows multiple visitors of all ages to interact together. The 10mm glass provides an incredibly durable surface for visitor interaction. The micro-etched glass surface improves the look and “feel” of the exhibit. Hands slide effortlessly over the micro-etched surface while not displaying finger prints or glare from gallery lights. Specialty glass from European glass-maker, Sevasa was sourced for these particular qualities.

Visitors interact with oceanic microorganisms on the massive multitouch wall. Touching plankton and other creatures brings up detailed 3D models.