Museum of Science & Technology in Islam upgrade

    King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia -

    In 2009 the Museum of Science & Technology in Islam at the King Adbdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia debuted 21 culturally-sensitive custom-designed interactive exhibits with the help of formua D_. When a cutting edge overhaul of the museum was initiated a decade later, the museum brought formula D_ on board to lead the project.

  • Museum of Science & Technology in Islam upgrade

    In 2009 formula D_ was subcontracted to develop high-tech exhibits for the Museum of Science & Technology in Islam (MOSTI) at the King Adbdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. The museum explores the scientific and technological contributions made by Muslim scholars and inventors during the Golden Age of Islam, which occurred between 650 CE and 1650 CE, and how these discoveries helped to shape the world. The result was 21 interactive exhibits in both English and Arabic that incorporated multitouch tables and projections and explored subjects such as mathematics, medicine, botany, biology, chemistry, astronomy, art, and architecture.

    Over a decade later it was time for an upgrade of the museum. KAUST commissioned formula D_ as the main contractor to develop some innovative new exhibit ideas, as well as revamp and upgrade all the existing exhibits to modernise both the technical backend and the visitor experience to create a guided display with an updated, immersive feel. formula D_ brought on board Stage Audio Works for its technical expertise - to advise on, supply, and integrate the necessary equipment - and RenderHeads to develop all the software for the exhibit kiosks, which included a custom content-management system. New exhibits include a display that illustrates how one of the first "humanoid robots", a drink pouring automaton that was invented by polymath Ismail a-Jazari, functioned internally, as well as animations that explain the internal workings of various water raising devices,
    which incorporated early examples of mechanisms, such as crankshafts and pistons, that we now see in contemporary inventions, such as vehicles.

    Technological upgrades to the existing exhibitions were designed to enhance the visitor experience further. For example, the Human Health exhibit, which features a vertical kiosk-sized touchscreen that visitors have to interact with in order to examine and learn about various systems of the body, was upgraded to a 4K display. The museum's standout exhibit, the giant multitouch touchscreen table that displays the timeline of the Golden Age of Islam and details over 300 Islamic contributions to science and technology, was originally developed in Adobe Flash, which was discontinued in 2020. This had to be modernised to meet the latest software-platform standards and so that content can once again be added and edited as necessary.

    The technical backend system that powers all the exhibits was completely overhauled with new video and audio systems, as well as new networking infrastructure. The upgrade resulted in a system that consumes 90% less electricity than the previous setup and which can completely be controlled through one tablet. Additionally, the system's individual components are easily accessible to MOSTI staff for the purposes of maintenance and upgrades yet its overall presence is invisible to visitors.