The Time of the touchless interface

Touchless, intelligent human-machine interfaces

The demand for touchless and intelligent human-machine interfaces will increase in the future, and the transition from haptic interfaces – audio and media guides or hands-on exhibits – to sensory interfaces accelerated. Designing these touchless interactions requires a human-centric approach ensuring reliability, security and privacy – the only way to create successful technical solutions that engage visitors in a corona-safe manner and enable exciting experiential spaces.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a huge challenge for the design of relevant visitor experiences for museums and brands: Not only external influencing factors such as fluctuation, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, but also the applicable hygiene regulations must be taken into account. In addition, the use behavior of visitors is changing: Their acceptance of media communication formats has increased, while at the same time the variety of digital possibilities is exploding. This increases people's familiarity with media, but also their expectations. It is vital to be open to the opportunities for innovation and to develop new solutions that pay attention to the safety of visitors – touchless interfaces, or the possibility of using one's own devices for communication.

„Expertly used technology creates magic, attention, individualisation, and shared experience and interaction. When technology becomes invisible, additional opportunities for poetry and concentration arise.”

Thomas Frenzel, Creative Direction / Spatial Communication at Milla & Partner

New ways of interaction: the combination of projection mapping and gesture control

The own hand can become a touchless, interactive interface: THE solution in pandemic and especially in post-pandemic times. No screen is necessary, no smartphone, no QR code, just your own hand. The combination of projection mapping and gesture control opens up new ways of communication. By generating three-dimensional effects on any surface, an impression is created that the projection surface and the projection shown on it are merged into a single entity. And if this is the user's palm, a fascinating, emotional experience as well as high interactivity through gesture control are created. This technology not only meets hygiene requirements: It encourages visitors to participate and also enables innovative storytelling. The use of an RFID chip in the ring brings additional functions, for example the recognition of people or the take home of content. This works not only on the wearer's own hand, but on any three-dimensional surface, be it a stone, a workpiece or a machine part. If we combine this with location data, appointments, individual topics and indoor navigation, the result is a spatial "information orientation sphere" in which people can optimally orient themselves and work together.

Sustainable communication: "Travelling Tools" enable individualized visitor journeys

With a digital exhibition companion, sustainable brand communication can be generated at any time. The contactless, low-threshold technology, which is integrated into wristbands, pendants or small objects, combines the interactive experience on site with a data memory that can be taken home as an accessory and souvenir after the visit – for instance at the Science Center experimenta: Here, with a "digital backpack", experiences at the individual stations can be saved, viewed at home afterwards and shared via social media.

Bring your own device: your own smartphone as interface and experience factor

By scanning a QR code with their personal device, visitors gain direct access to web-based platforms. This enables the control of content on screens without needing to log in or leave data. Users can see their progress live in the digital experience at any given time and access in-depth online content. This framework allows for various applications: from single-user touchpoints to multiplayer games to immersive environments, even interactive group experiences are possible. BYOD is not only corona-safe, but also cost-effective, as less hardware is needed on site. The example of Essilor shows how experience factor, innovative strength and digital competence go hand in hand.

Situational information – no matter where: tiny laser beamer projects onto any surface

The interaction of the future: Thanks to the optical recognition of a tiny interactive laser beamer, content of any kind can be projected onto any surface, with which users can then interact individually. The vision of situational information – no matter where – becomes a reality. As a light button, the laser-projected interface can also function as a trigger or a game element. Furthermore, an object recognition system can be integrated, enabling the user to start or control various interactions via tokens as soon as they are placed under the light button. This technology was developed in the Milla & Partner Innovation Lab in collaboration with Bosch Sensortec.

"Travel guides" as give-aways: simple brochures become interactive projection screens

An interactive tool as a give-away device: simple brochures, catalogs or postcards become interactive projection surfaces which visitors can take home after the tour. Thanks to specially developed software, all users receive their own intuitive digital companion as well as their own personal interaction field that actively involves them in the action and can control exhibits. RFID chips store the visit information and make it available for post-field communication. The technology is based on 3D tracking. The spatial position of the brochure´s marker points is detected by a ceiling infrared camera. The software can simultaneously interprete several markers and consequently calculate the projection position. Several brochures can be mapped precisely by the same projector, the brochures themselves use no electronics or technology.This technology premiered as the SeedBoard at the EXPO in Milan. It is currently permanently in use in an advanced development at Baykomm, Bayer's brand world in Leverkusen or at the Changi Experience Studio in Singapore.


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