Memory Chip, Anyone?

Paula Biotech, Museum Exhibit, Science and Tech Leave a Comment

Imagine a day when cybernetic enhancements simply become a part of us… Delving into the intersections of emerging biotech and society, I engaged visitors to consider the implications of adding technology to their bodies in various scenarios in Human or Machine?, an award-winning, multi-user computer interactive I developed for Museum of Science’s Star Wars exhibit.  Would we need new laws to protect privacy? Would there be equal access to augmentation?

The interactive allows for simultaneous interaction and includes prompts for discussion among users who are working together at the console. This activity was designed to encourage dialog on science, ethics and decision-making among a multigenerational audience.

Humor, surprise, compelling animations, and thought-provoking questions prompt reflection and visitor discussion about the possible consequences of human augmentation. By tapping into both the head and heart, this popular interactive stimulates the imagination and invites spirited debate among visitors!


The exhibit drew over 3 million people in the US and Australia before making its final appearance at San José’s Tech Museum of Innovation.

Of all the amazing interactives in this 10,000 sq ft. $3,000,000 (US) exhibit, Human or Machine? was the only one to be honored with a Silver Muse Award in Science by the American Association of Museums (AAM).

When I was installing the interactive at MOS, some tech students from MIT were experiencing the exhibit before the official open. One young man said to me (not knowing I was the person who developed it) “This is the best interactive in the whole exhibit!”

We applied universal design principles for maximum accessibility for visitors with vision, hearing and mobility impairments so no one was excluded from the experience!

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