Educational Environments- South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

Deep Dive into the Brain places visitors in control of a dynamic voyage from the brain’s external lobes and fissures into its internal structure and finally the microscopic level of synapses and neurotransmitters. Visitors use a custom control console with an embedded multitouch display and joystick to initiate their journey and highlight key structures and processes in 3D on a large curved projection wall. Ambient audio and lighting enhance the immersive experience.


Deep Dive into the Brain is a keystone experience in the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s new Journey Through the Human Brain exhibition, a 2500 square foot space which uses state-of-the-art exhibit technology to shed light on the most complex structure known to science: the human brain. Ideum worked with digital design studio Intervoke to create a truly immersive experience designed to allow visitors to move through highly detailed 3D imagery and learn about the neurological processes behind our thoughts, emotions, and actions and the imaging techniques researchers use to study the brain. Ideum built the control console application which allows users to navigate into the brain and select hotspots to learn more, integrated the application with Intervoke’s 3D imagery, built the custom console, and installed the entire exhibit


One of the project’s key challenges involved projecting complex imagery onto a 14’ curved projection wall in a way that preserved sharpness and detail across the entire surface as the visitor pans, selects key areas for further exploration, and dives. A second challenge focused on linking the control console application, which guests use to navigate through the brain and learn about structures and processes at each level, to the projection system displaying Intervoke’s 3D imagery. A third challenge involved designing the overall exhibit space to maximize immersivity while maintaining accessibility and opportunities for learning.


We were excited by both the technical challenges and the conceptual opportunities we encountered as the project moved from concept to reality. We experimented with a range of projection-mapping techniques to learn the most effective way to warp the custom dynamic 3D imagery from Intervoke onto the curved projection surface. This exhibit was mocked up at full scale for more than a month during development, allowing both the project team and naive users to explore each screen and phase in depth and continually refine the interface. We also tested the exhibit under a range of lighting conditions. The exhibit’s custom control console was designed to afford access to wheelchair users, and onscreen text and active elements were placed and sized for easy readability and use.


The exhibit has become an iconic element in the Journey Through the Human Brain exhibition since the gallery opened in spring 2019, with the Science Center reporting that the experience is very popular with visitors. Since the opening, Ideum has worked with the Science Center and Intervoke to further refine the experience and enhance reliability and performance.