Testing the Gesture Wall at Heritage Quay

Back in June, we introduced the concept of our Gesture Wall which will feature at Heritage Quay, the new home for the University of Huddersfield’s Archives and Special Collections.

Back then we could show you a prototype but we’re thrilled to be able to show the latest video shot during our integration testing.

The Gesture Wall is a 7 metre interactive curved wall, driven by human gesture, with surround sound and dynamic archive database integration.

The Heritage Quay archive centre will make the University’s heritage collections more accessible to everyone, free of charge, thanks to a grant of £1,585,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Power down properly to prolong the life of your hardware

Reducing the impact of bad habits on the health of your hardware is a good way to help prolong its life. One such habit is that of switching off your computer at the wall rather than powering it down properly. It seems like a time saver at the end of a busy day and is particularly tempting where one power socket feeds more than one computer.

But by doing this you run the risk of corrupting the data on your hard drive which is not such a great idea.

Our policy for clients is to make the necessary changes internally to the computer using our own software which runs in the background and powers the computer off and on at pre-determined times. If you want to run your exhibit outside your regular hours – say, for a special event – then you simply override the pre-set times by switching the computer on again. It will revert to the regular schedule by itself.

It’s a reliable way to save time and eliminate the risk of corrupting data by switching off at the wall and we recommend it to all our clients.

But, if you’re running hardware that has not been set up in this way, please follow our tip: simply power your computer down properly. It doesn’t take that long really and can save you a lot of hassle in the long term.

Come and see us at the AHI Conference

We’re getting geared up for the AHI conference on 24-26 September in Manchester.

As well as looking forward to an agenda full of interesting speakers on a range of heritage and interpretation topics, we’re planning to showcase some of the ways we work with clients to put heritage interpretation into practice through technology.

We’ll certainly be bringing examples of our recent project with Fire Aware that uses on-site interactive exhibits combined with online versions of the material, as well as CD-based versions for use out and about by representatives in educational outreach activities.

fire risk interactive map

Fire Aware interactive map

All being well – and current busy workload permitting – we should also be showcasing a multi-touch table to demonstrate how Caerphilly Castle is currently using this technology.

Digital table at Caerphilly Castle: Our digital exploration of the Bute family archive at Caerphilly Castle combines fun, education and as much multi touch interactivity as you can imagine to great effect!

And we hope to be giving everyone attending the chance to have a go with the yet-to-be-installed Gesture Wall for the University of Huddersfield’s Archives and Special Collections – we’re excited about it, they’re excited about it, we hope you’ll find it exciting too.

Huddersfield University Archives Gesture Wall

Huddersfield University Archives Gesture Wall concept

Here’s a prototype visual interface we’re working on for exploring this nationally important archive database with over 40,000 entries!

If you’re going to be at the AHI conference, please make sure you say hello. If you can’t be there but would like to know more about how this technology might help you, please just give us a call.

New project: Multi-touch table at St Barrwg’s Church, Caerphilly

As part of a project to restore St Barrwg’s church supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the church will be used as a community resource as well as for services.

Church interactive installation

As part of their aim to provide educational material about local history and life in the church, we are developing a multi-touch table. Aimed at the existing congregation and a range of visitors including school groups, it will use a plan view of the church to explain the activities and services at the church, its artefacts, as well as its social history in ways that support the curriculum.

New project: Time-lapse photography at St Martin’s Church, Bilborough

It’s great to be working with a new client in Bilborough, Nottinghamshire, just a mile down the road from the Wide Sky Design offices.

St Martin’s Church is a Grade II*listed building dating back to 1356 with renovation having taken place in Victorian times. But in recent years, like many older parish churches in troubled urban areas, it had fallen into disrepair. Local champion of the church, Hilary Wheat, is now realising her vision to restore the church to its former vibrant condition as well as to establish it as a focal point where the local community can address its own challenges such as poor education and health, and low employment.

St Martin's Heritage Trainees 2014

 St. Martin’s Heritage Trainees

A successful Heritage Lottery Fund application sees Hilary leading a team of volunteers in a restoration project that has seen the unexpected uncovering of some precious wall paintings by mid-20th century artist Evelyn Gibbs, believed to be the last surviving examples of her large scale work.

Evelyn Gibbs wall paintings at St Martin's Church, Bilborough

 Evelyn Gibbs wall paintings at St Martin’s Church, Bilborough

It is exciting for us to be involved at the very beginning of their Hidden Treasures project, supporting what will be three years of community and heritage activities.

Right now we have two time-lapse cameras in place to capture the work that is being carried out. One looks down from the eaves, eight metres up, onto the floor of the church and will record the restoration activity, including the laying of a stone floor. The second, of course, is focused on those murals the restoration of which will be of national cultural interest.

The images will be used in the subsequent community projects and we will be creating a tablet-based app to interpret the history and life of the church. We’ll report back on progress.

Support St Martin’s 

St. Martin’s has been shortlisted for an English Heritage Angel Award in the ‘Best Rescue or Repair of a Historic Place of Worship’ category. The winners, as determined by a judging panel, will be announced at a ceremony in London in November.

There is an extra award, English Heritage Followers’ and Telegraph Readers’ Favourite Award, that is open to a public vote – if you’d like to support St Martin’s, simply vote here…

Award success for Woodhall Spa

We’re delighted to congratulate Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum on their success in the 2014 Lincolnshire Heritage Awards, run by the Lincolnshire Heritage Forum, celebrating the work taking place in museums, historic houses and heritage sites across the county.

The museum is highly commended in the Inspiration Award for ‘The Future of Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum’ and winner of the Excellence Award.

The Cottage Museum

As part of a significant redevelopment supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund we had the pleasure of developing two interactive exhibits for the Cottage Museum: Woodhall Life which explores photographic archives of the Spa and The War Years, featuring the history of RAF Woodhall Spa and 617 Squadron, the “Dambusters”, which operated from there from January 1944 to May 1945.