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Jetpack exhibit redesign takes flight

The jetpack exhibit is part of our current feature exhibition Human Potential and is back in the gallery after a resdesign of the digital and physical gameplay.

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Did you know we have onsite workshop and design teams at Scitech who create and maintain all our exhibits?

Our feature exhibitions travel the world to international science centres, so when they land back in Perth as Human Potential has this year, it offers these teams the opportunity to see what exhibits might need updating or refining.

The jetpack exhibit originally used virtual reality headsets to let you experience what it might be like to fly a jetpack and complete the challenge to land in the correct location before your fuel runs out. However, feedback from our overseas counterparts was that the headsets were too delicate to withstand the amount of daily usage an exhibit gets. So our design team decided to change the exhibit to screen based gameplay.

Scitech Software & Digital Manager Phillip Verschuer said the most important part of the redesign was ensuring the exhibit still gave people the experience of feeling like they were flying.

“We decided to use curved screens which means people are looking down when seated on the exhibit to give the sensation of being up high,” Phillip said. “We then had to rethink certain aspects of the interface of the game as with the screens it becomes more static than with the VR headsets. We also had to work out the physical aspects of the exhibit, such as the making sure distance between the chair and the screen kept the screens safe from accidental kicking but would still provide an immersive experience. We tested the chair with children to refine this as well as for the placement of the joysticks, to ensure the gameplay is user friendly with different heights and ages.”

The jetpack exhibit is one of 23 hands-on and interactive displays in our Human Potential feature exhibition, which examines the technology and science that can extend our abilities and enable us to help people to ensure everyone can reach their full potential. The exhibit looks at how important flight is in search and rescue and jetpack technology has the potential to reach people where current vehicles such as helicopters can’t reach.

Find out more about Human Potential.

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