All boxed up [update]

Our brains have done a fair bit of milage recently with George travelling to LA for the Communicating the Museum conference and Charlie flying over to Belfast to talk at the Digital Tech, Young People & Heritage conference at Ulster Museum and also exhibiting at the British Museum’s 3D Imaging in Cultural Heritage conference.

In preparation we’ve spent a bit of time working on new packaging for what we refer to as the ‘starter box’ because it contains: the brain, an introductory print, and a mains plug; everything you need to get started! Previous versions have been bulky and wasted space which can make travelling with the box more challenging than it need be. We wrote exactly a year ago (gosh!) about our visit to MOO HQ where we worked on packaging ideas with their product design team and having now spent some time designing a new box we wanted to share a brief overview of our packaging evolution and developments:

Statues of Women in London – December 2015

December 2015: Early brain prototype combined with the statues of women around London set. We later decided to separate the brain into an independent starter box because the variation of possible 3D prints and postcards in the box is so great. This gives us more freedom now when packaging up each unique collection. 

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MOO Box – November 2016

November 2016: An experiment developed with Moo Ltd using their plotter machine and a square brain. This included a space for a set of NFC cards.

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February 2017: Starter box comprised of many laser cut layers of card. Solid but used an unnecessary amount of material, was heavy and there was a great deal of wasted space.

An object box made for the Jewish Museum London’s ‘Hearing History’ set

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Render of a foam insert design – July 2017

July 2017: Stacked foam insert, the brain sits above the starter introductory print and plug. We liked this foam design but for small quantities we’d need to laser cut and stack multiple layers which is both time consuming and costly.

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Development of a card insert – October 2017

October 2017: 

In this new design the brain sits above the insert, when you remove the brain the plug and print tucked away underneath are revealed.

We adapted the foam design to allow for the slightly bulkier Rasperry Pi plug. Doing this means we could easily change the plug type and send a starter box to almost anywhere in the world without the need for an adapter… it’s the small things that count!

The box is made out of three parts: the box itself (a), the insert (b) and the tray (c) glued to the underside of the insert. The real challenge was designing an insert that works with the many different plug adapters of the Raspberry Pi universal plug!

Raspberry Pi power adapter

The packaging is a great improvement on the older bulky and heavy box making it much better for sending in the post. Having travelled around with this new box however, we’re now thinking we can make it smaller still!

Hopefully this has been a brief but insightful overview for any packaging nerds out there!

C

Failure to get to Cork = virtual presentation for #vhnireland

Last Friday, Tom and I had the best intentions in the world of presenting to the attendees of Virtual Heritage Network Ireland in Cork. We were all set to talk about Letting Objects Speak for Themselves, and show folks some working boxes. It was also going to be my first visit to Ireland! But, our journey ended at Stansted, after a remarkable slurry of travel woes I shan’t bore you with. Suffice it to say that everything that could have gone wrong, did.

With our tails between our legs, Tom and I knew we wanted to send something in our place, so we headed back to HQ to see if we could make a video version of what we’d planned to talk about. Fate steps in again – we’d both not brought our office keys! (And Charlie was off at the Wellcome’s 3d4ever meeting!) Gah!

Luckily, the little office next door was open, so we were able to suck the office wifi, and we put together a version of what we would have said on stage to send over. Phew!

Museum in a Box – Letting Objects Speak for Themselves – VHN Ireland from Museum in a Box on Vimeo.

We were very happy to watch people via Twitter telling us they enjoyed it. A soothing balm after a shitty day, and overall, a helpful result!

 

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

All boxed up at MOO

We recently paid a visit to our friends at MOO HQ which is only a stones throw from our Bloomsbury base to meet up with Toby Hextall and Phil Thomas who are the go-to designers on all things product and packaging. We wanted to get some packaging tips and also start prototyping a few concepts and Toby and Phil were kind enough to help us out.

 The Moo office is a beautiful and inspiring place and so we couldn’t help but take a few snaps before getting down to business.

Moo Entrance

After a catchup and some brainstorming we set to work on a first iteration container to house a brain box and set of MOO’s NFC cards. They have some great kit and we were able to prototype a set of packaging inserts and a card box using their Graphtec FC2250 Flatbed Plotter. The machine cuts and scores each piece of card very fast and accurately and it also works with an inDesign plug-in making the whole experience super smooth. 

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We learnt a lot about product packaging in a short period of time and worked through several iterations of inserts designed to hold a ply brain box and business card box. Whilst refining a design we also tried out various card stocks including thick corrugated sheets and recycled craft card. We discovered that the insert had a tendency to rise up around the plywood brain box so added two flaps that the brain would sit on top of to prevent this rising from happening. The box of cards also caused the insert to flex and so we tried out different tab widths as well as corrugated card to work around that.

Below is a video put together to show the machine we used to cut the inserts and the iterations in a little more detail:

We’re excited to see what else we can produce and how we can develop our packaging prototypes. We hope to spend some more time with Phil, Toby and the rest of the team in the future and we’ll keep you posted as always as things develop. Exciting times!

C.

charlie with phil

 

A Camera on a Pole, Drama Through the Ages

On a blustery Wednesday here in London, Charlie and Tom venture out to try out an idea – to make a 3d scan of a frieze on the old Saville Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue. Only one problem stood in our way – it’s 20 feet (6 metres) in the air:

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Image from Google Maps

We’ve been 3D scanning for a while over here – and teaching other people the not-so-dark art too – and one obstacle that we’ve come across again and again is that we’re just. not. that. tall.

This is normally not a problem in day to day life, but when you’re trying to 3D scan the top of an ancient egyptian sculpture that’s 10ft in the air or indeed a complete a totem pole – being taller than a regular human would be an advantage.

Our solution? A Big Stick.

Among my various work I (Tom) have done a fair amount of sound recording on short films and documentaries and one of my trusty bits of portable recording gear is a boom pole. While normally the thread attachments only fit 3/8 inch microphone grips, by purchasing a thread adaptor and a ball head mount we made ourselves a pretty serviceable camera pole!

We can control the camera (a Canon G7x) with an app on our phones that displays a mirrored viewport of what the camera can see via WiFi. A tap on our handset triggers the shutter on the camera, complete with a handy cartoon “ker-chik” sound from it’s speaker.

Never one’s to miss an opportunity, our first outing with this set up was to make a scan on the side of a building on a busy road in central London.

Prototyping the Idea

We’re really looking forward to being at Somerset House next week. We’ll be there from Wednesday for about two weeks. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been preparing our first prototype set of objects. (Tom’s going to follow up with a post about all that.) We’re off to iMakr shortly to pick them up!

They’re going to look like this lady, and we can’t wait to start thinking about how to help her tell her story.

goddess

Hello, the universe!

What’s Museum in a Box?

  • Create your own collection of art/history objects carefully selected from museums around the world.
  • Print your collection in 3D, and have it shipped to your school, home or office. International orders are welcome.
  • Learn about your collection and discover other related cultural and archival material through easy-to-use NFC technology (or similar).
  • Share what you learn about your new Museum in a Box with other museum lovers.

We’re in the very early stages of development, and we’re about to embark on a fortnight of prototyping in public at Somerset House. Thanks to Cassie Robinson for her kind invitation to make use of some vacant space.

If you’re in London and would like to stop by, please do let us know!