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An Enigma Machine and Tide Predicting Machine are amongst the great inventions that will be

digitised through new Digital Lab

The Science Museum and Samsung Electronics has announced the launch of Digital Lab, a pioneering

research project that will explore new ways to use the latest digital technologies to engage and

inspire the Museum’s global online audience and visitors of all ages.

The Digital Lab, developed by the Science Museum with support from Founding Sponsor Samsung,

will use emerging new technologies, including Virtual Reality (VR), 3D scanning and high definition

rotational photography, to bring objects from the Museum’s world-class collections to life like never


The first Digital Lab project will focus on the Science Museum’s new mathematics gallery, of which

Samsung is Principal Sponsor. Open to the general public from 8 December, Mathematics: The

Winton Gallery will explore how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the

modern world over the last four hundred years, bringing the subject to life through remarkable

artefacts, stories and design. Showcasing over 100 treasures from the Science Museum’s world-class

science, technology, engineering and mathematics collections, the new mathematics gallery will

highlight the fundamental role of mathematics in all our lives.

Enhanced Digitisation

The Science Museum has worked with Samsung to digitise some of the most important artefacts in

the gallery, making use of a number of innovative technologies to capture, and allow visitors to

interact with, the objects, including 3D scanning, high definition rotational photography and

component photography. Amongst the remarkable objects that will be brought to life with the help

of 360-degree rotational photography are the Three Ring Enigma Machine and the William Thomson

Tide Predicting Machine, while a beautiful 17 th Century Islamic Planispheric Astrolabe will be brought

into the 21 st century with component photography.

Prototype VR Experience

Taking inspiration from the experimental 1929 Handley Page aircraft which forms the iconic

centrepiece of the mathematics gallery, an immersive prototype VR experience will be created with

the Samsung Gear VR, allowing visitors to reach new heights as the plane takes off and learn more

about the mathematical principles inherent in the plane’s design.

Exploring Alternative Views of the Digitised Objects

Working with the Museum’s rich collection of digital assets, the Science Museum will invite groups

to take part in a series of Digital Lab ‘hackdays’ to develop experimental interfaces such as maps,

timelines and data visualisations, and create alternative ways for visitors (both at the museum and

online) to navigate its rich collections.

John Stack, Digital Director at the Science Museum, said, “The Digital Lab will build on the Science

Museum’s long history of digital innovation and enable us to remain at the forefront of use of new

technologies within the cultural sector. Digital technologies and our audience’s use of digital

continue to evolve rapidly. It is important that the Science Museum explores the potential of digital

to engage audiences with the Museum's collections and the important stories that they tell, and we

are delighted to be working with Samsung to make the first of many Digital Lab projects possible.”

As Founding Sponsor of the Digital Lab research project, the work forms part of Samsung’s wider

Citizenship Programme to help get people excited about technology and science.

Russell Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung UK & Ireland, said, “At Samsung, we are

committed to creating digital experiences that empowers people, enhances learning, and unlocks

endless possibilities. We’re delighted to partner with the Science Museum on this unique project

that demonstrates the power of technology, bringing people even closer to this fascinating subject.”

Further details about Digital Lab public events and hack days will be announced in early 2017. For

more information visit http://lab.sciencemuseum.org.uk. 

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