The “Infrared Camera” exhibit will let you learn about the properties of infrared light.
Every organism and every object with a temperature higher than absolute zero shines with its own light. The higher the temperature of a given body, the higher the energy of the produced light spectrum and the brighter the object shines. Whereas a rod heated to 200°C emits bright visible light, a healthy person with a typical body temperature of 36.6°C generates infrared light, whose waves are much longer than those of the visible light. The image generated by an infrared camera makes it possible to see that people really shine, although it is impossible to see the light they emit with the naked eye.
Problems with the exhibit:
Technical problem: the camera covered a temperature range that was too wide
Solution: narrowing the camera’s thermal sensitivity range
Previously, the “Infrared Camera” exhibit controlled the range of the observed temperatures by itself. By choosing a wide range, it recorded both objects with a room temperature (about 25°C) and hot lamps. This caused the thermal resolution of the image to decrease, since the camera averaged large temperature differences. Consequently, numerous temperature nuances disappeared and the effect of an overexposed film was produced. Narrowing the camera’s thermal sensitivity range allowed it to record – and us to observe – more thermal shades.
Problems with interaction: unsatisfactory level of intuitiveness of the exhibit, difficult observation
Solution: changing the layout of the exhibit, introducing additional elements that engage emotions and enable experimentation
In the previous version of the exhibit, the camera was located on a different side than the displayed image, which confused the visitors and disturbed the interaction. Moreover, the exhibit was placed in an overly illuminated location, which greatly weakened the visual effects, making it more difficult to perform observations. Today, the camera and the displayed image are on the same plane – in front of the visitor – in a darkened space. The use of the exhibit is, therefore, more intuitive and comfortable. We have also added elements that allow visitors to experiment with the properties of various materials, such as metal, Plexiglas or plastic foil. This significantly increases the attractiveness of the exhibit – playing with accessories engages attention and emotions, creating an opportunity for intriguing discoveries.
Educational problem: untapped educational potential of the exhibit
Solution: change of the sense and context of the exhibit, introduction of accessories that increase the educational value of the exhibit
Previously, the exhibit did not allow the visitor to observe the phenomenon of thermoregulation, which it referred to, during the interaction. In other words, it did not include the possibility of experimenting with thermoregulation but merely showed that people shone in the infrared light. When improving the exhibit, we made sure that it enabled the visitors to fully experience the presented phenomenon.
To this end, we changed the sense and context of the exhibit, which also entailed a change in its shape. We added accessories to the new version of the exhibit. The accessories, which are made of various materials, are placed in front of the camera and include moulds for pressing “thermal” tattoos, a black foil bag, a Plexiglas wheel, which can be used to cover e.g. the face, and three panels made of Plexiglas, mirror Plexiglas and matt metal, respectively. Thanks to the image produced by the infrared camera, it is now possible to see not only the properties of the infrared light but also the specific properties of various materials. We know that a high degree of smoothness of a material enables it to reflect images, i.e. act like a mirror. Thanks to the exhibit’s new form, we can see that an object that serves as an infrared mirror does not have to be a mirror in a more accurate daylight – i.e. the same material which functions as a mirror in the infrared light will have a rough texture for our eyes in daylight. The improved exhibit also allows us to see that some materials are impervious to daylight, while others are impervious to infrared light. For example, Plexiglas and glass do not transmit infrared light, while black plastic bags transmit infrared light but do not transmit daylight.
The improved exhibit is not only more intuitive but also more aesthetically pleasing, and thanks to its multi-layer design, it is also richer in content and more valuable from the educational point of view. On the other hand, the substantive changes that we introduced did not diminish its attractiveness in any way. On the contrary, it offers even more fun now!
The exhibit will appear in the exhibition space on 6 April 2018, after the opening of the newly modernized eastern part of the first floor.