In order to make fragile museum objects more accessible so visitors can interact with them and learn more about them, designer Maaike Roozenburg created the ‘Smart Replicas‘ project. The aim is to examine how 3D prototyping can be used to replicate historical items and how augmented reality can be used to enrich them with information. Roozenburg told Design.nl that only a small percentage of a museum’s items are usually on display:
They are presented in small glass cabinets with tiny pieces of card giving a visitor minimal information. It is such a pity because these objects were not made to be shown in a museum, but to be used.
Roozenburg has been using medical CT scanners to create 3D scans of delicate teacups from the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in the Netherlands. These digital reconstructions can then be printed out on a 3D printer. Using augmented reality technology, apps have also been developed to show the information, context, history, and stories associated with each object.
A trial installation is due to run at the museum in the spring, where the ‘Smart Replicas’ prototypes can be touched and explored by the public, creating a more interactive experience.