Vanderbilt Brain Institute

Interactive Exhibits Educate Visitors While They Wait

Project Details

Client: Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, TN

Date: September 2011

Project Collaborators: 1220 Exhibits


The Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks facility is a renovated retail space that contains 22 clinics in more than 350,000 square feet. This large complex, with its high volume of daily visitors and patients, is a prime location for fulfilling VBI’s community outreach objectives. Unfortunately, the subject of neurosciences is not one that lay people grasp easily—nor do they arrive with a predisposed interest in the topic. Anode developed three interactive exhibit areas to give visitors and patients an interesting glimpse of the brilliant world deep inside our brains, and expose them to how Vanderbilt’s work impacts human life in the areas of mental health and mental illness.

People with a destination in mind tend to overlook messages and installations that do not fit the scale of your physical space. For this large corridor at the Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks facility, Anode created an interactive exhibit space filled with environmental graphics, fabric sails and a bank of five LCD monitors. Each display presents an attract animation featuring a specific brain function. As a visitor approaches each monitor, a hidden proximity sensor detects the movement and plays an educational animation about the respective brain function.
A second exhibit creates a more personal setting for visitors and patients to learn about brain chemistry, anatomy and function, and mental health. The challenge was to provide a semi-private space where visitors could explore each topic in detail while listening to audio and video clips about potentially sensitive topics related to mental health. To achieve this, Anode created a lounge environment incorporating three touchscreen monitors. Handheld sound wands allow each visitor to intimately hear audio and video clips about the subject matter. Anode worked with Vanderbilt personnel on the proper bench and countertop design for maximum usability. One of the three touchscreen stations was specially designed to be handicap accessible.
To illustrate its national prominence as a world-class neuroscience research center, one of the goals of the VBI is to better inform the public about brain science and the ongoing research efforts at Vanderbilt. Two touchscreen installations, along with wall graphics, are used to tell these stories through interactive audio and video. Overhead sound domes are used to focus the audio in the area directly in front of the touchscreen displays. This localized audio allows individual users to enjoy the interactive media without disturbing visitors in the nearby waiting area.
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