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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.
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.