Interaction Review-Rochester Natural Science Museum

For this interaction review I’m going to be reviewing the interactive station called “Cooling Down and Heating Up.” This was a very interactive kiosk because the user had to pedal a bike to operate the station. While pedaling, there were handles in front of the user that had coils wrapped around them that you’re suppose to hold onto. For a kid, this concept is pretty self-explanatory to us because if they’re old enough to climb onto the seat, they’ve probably ridden a bike before.

Moving onto what ones interaction actually does, its all in the peddling. In front of the handles is a glass window which shows a compression pump which connects to the coils wrapped around the handles. When the user pedals, it activates the pump to compress a refrigerant called Freon. In the picture below, the main panel explains exactly how everything works, but the main point of this activity is the left coil becomes hot and the right coil becomes cool. The longer you pedal, the hotter and colder the coils will become. It’s a very simple task, but a rewarding one because the user physically feels the feedback of what they’re doing. There is also a little competition that can be involved. There are digital displays of the temperatures for each side to see how hot and cold the coils are becoming. This might encourage kids to try to get the coils hotter/colder then a sibling or friend.

Although the station itself is sort of bland in appearance with the “bike” being all black, its placed almost in a corner, and the board of information has a lot of words that a kid most likely won’t entirely read, it seemed to attract many kids as I personally saw them running up and jumping onto it whether they knew what they were doing or not. If the museum wanted to make the station a little more eye catching, they could move the station to a different location or maybe paint the bike a different color.

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