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You are here: Hi-Tech Cambridge sensor tech powers Samsung innovation museum

Cambridge sensor tech powers Samsung innovation museum


Advanced sensor technology from Cambridge-based visualplanet is powering electronics giant Samsung’s innovation museum in South Korea.

In a neat piece of symmetry, visualplanet launched its touchfoil technology in 2002 – the year Samsung became the world’s largest supplier of memory chips.

Within a decade, Samsung had overtaken Nokia to become the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer by unit sales – and visualplanet had conquered the world with its technology.

The UK’s trade chief, Lord Green, picked out the Cambridge company for praise at UKTI’s Export Week event in Newmarket last November, lauding its export success in the US and Europe.

Touchfoil is a clear, large format film that can be applied to glass to add interactive touch capabilities to shop windows and other display areas. The company is an established global player in the growing interactive digital signage market – which is why Samsung bought into the technology for its global innovation showcase.

visualplanet’s founder & director Vernon Spencer and product manager Dan Spencer recently visited The Samsung Museum of Innovation in Suwon with long-standing partner AVA Vision.

The museum was created to mark Samsung Electronics' 45th anniversary, showcasing the developments in technology and Samsung's progressive products over nearly half a century.  The museum spans over five floors featuring 150 inventions and products. 

Touchfoil was chosen as the touch sensor technology of choice to enable interactivity in the museum because of its design flexibility. The touchfoil is mounted behind the glass so it does not restrict the creative freedom of the museum designers.

The bespoke transparent displays were mounted behind templates which created irregular shapes and sizes; whilst traditional touch sensors such as IR frames could not be adapted to accommodate these bespoke displays, the touchfoil fits in seamlessly.

Vernon Spencer said: “The thought, ingenuity and scale Samsung has put into its Innovation Museum was inspirational. Tracking the developments from the initial discovery of electricity, through to present day and beyond – presented in a real and digitally integrated environment – was truly breathtaking, and all set in such a fabulous purpose-built facility. This certainly is a fantastic way to integrate real world artefacts into the digital world.”

The first and second floors of the exhibition are highly interactive and particularly exciting for visualplanet, featuring 70 touchfoils installed by AVA Vision.  Many of these visualplanet touchfoils have been used to add touch capabilities and enable interactive engagement to transparent displays, providing information on the exhibit.

Transparent displays were used to enable Samsung to create a unique visual experience that was both virtual and real, with physical objects mounted within the enclosure of the display.

Interactive signage in museums allows visitors to search for more detail on the specific topics they want to find out more about, enabling them to instantly adjust the detail of information to their requirements, language and learning levels. 

Visitors can play games, watch stories, investigate further and test their knowledge - helping them to learn more and engage fully - creating a truly personalised experienced.

Spencer added: “In a world where immediate access to information and knowledge has come to be expected at the touch of screen, there is a requirement for museums to keep up with the technology shift and to stay connected to audiences - keeping the magic of museums alive.

“The touchfoil encourages curiosity and enables visitors to expand their knowledge, by displaying more of the museum’s wealth of expertise than would ever fit on a simple plaque!”