World’s Largest Dinos – Exhibition – AMNH 2011

World’s Largest Dinos – Exhibition – AMNH 2011

World’s Largest Dinos – Exhibition – AMNH 2011

This exhibition was dedicated to Sauropods, the world’s largest dinosaurs that ever existed. The centerpiece of the show was a 65″ model of a sauropod, a size that despite filling the entire gallery, was considered small. The goal of the show was to explain how these complex animals could exist, having such unusual features (like those uber long necks). We experimented with many of our interactive and media pieces in this show, making the experience extremely exiting and sometimes, stressful.

Belly Theater – Projection Mapping of 3D animated feature on realistic model scale 1:1
The center piece of the show was a large model of a sauropod. My first idea was to cover it head to toe on projections and allow people to explore layer by layer the insides of the animal. The content was so complex however, that we settled for a projection mapping of only the organs on the torso of the model, combined with a simultaneous narration, light show and an LED caption display.

The biggest challenge however, was for my team of developers Camila Engelbert and Mindy Weisberger. We had to 3D model and describe an entire organ system that no one had ever illustrated before. Dinosaur’s soft tissue has not fossilized, so the organs represented in this model have been created based on bio-engineering studies (educated guesses) led by Dr. Martin Sanders and his team in Germany.

Vertebrae Comparison – Fossil modeling and pneumatic mechanics
This hands-on interactive asks the question: what would be heavier: A giraffe’s vertebrae or a sauropod’s? Lift both and compare. Surprisingly the giraffe’s one would be heavier, because sauropods had hollow bones (like those found in birds) which made possible for the animals to walk around with such long and heavy neck. The things one learns in this place.

Heart Pump – Pneumatic mechanism connected to interactive animated feature
Sauropods hearts were particularly strong, since they had to pump blood all the way to the brain of the dinosaur. It got even harder when the animals had to lift their head to reach high-up leaves. To show how this worked, we made a heart pump. Here visitors would use a mechanical device connected to a screen, where the visitor’s pumps would get easier or harder depending on the narrative of an animated feature. Two other pumps allow them to compare between elephants, giraffes and our dino. A big team participated in this interactive: Mark Iscoe, Harry Borrelli, Jesus Pereira, Alberto Amelot, Camila Engelbert, Lydia Romero and Matt Usi. I participate in all, so I will not list myself in these groups.

Metabolism – Arduino arcade with customized LED panel
Metabolism in sauropods is a mystery. We do not know if they were cold or warm blooded (and old term to describe endotermic or exotermic). So we do not know if they ate a lot or a little. To test how much a dino should eat depending on the type of metabolism, Harry Borrelli, Cameron Browning and Kelvin Chiang created this arcade game. The goal is to fill the dino’s belly by pushing the button as fast as necessary. Each click is a bite. The game was supported by an arduino back end.

Measuring the Femur – Arduino calculator of paleontological logarithms
How can scientist infer the size of a dinosaur by only having one bone? There are logarithms that helped them calculate their volume and potential weight. Mark Iscoe found one of these endless tables with data and extrapolated the logarithm, which was applied to an Arduino calculated that transformed it into Kilos and pounds. The activity asks you to measure two different sauropod femurs to calculate how heavy they were. You measure with a ruler, introduce the value and get a result.

Viewers – Stereoscopy
Sauropods may have had coloration on their skin. We do not know, but survival needs may have promoted the use of camouflage or vibrant coloration for reproductive purposes. To see what sauropods may have looked like, Lee Patrick created these stereoscopic viewers with different pigmentations overlayed on a model.

3D Zoethrope – 3D printing of 3D models on three-phase rotating system with LEDs controlled by Arduino
Sauropods had a special way to walk. They were long both in the front (neck) and in the back (tail). We needed to show how they managed to balance themselves. Camila Engelbert –my star animator- 3D modeled the walk, 3D printed it and hand painted it. We worked with an international engineering company to create a variable-speed rotating platform with LED acrylic hood. Cameron Browning built an Arduino based LED controller and after very careful calibration, we got these 64 models to visibly walk.

American Museum of Natural History, 2011
“World’s Largest Dinos” Exhibition
Helene Alonso, Camila Engelbert, Harry Borrelli, Cameron Browning, Kelvin Chiang, David Clinard, JoAnn Gutin, Sarah Galloway, Kurtis Hairston, Lauri Halderman, David Harvey, Mark Iscoe, Dina Langis, Dean Markosian, Michael Meister, Sasha Nemecek, Mark Norrell, Dan Ownbey, Lee Patrick, Melissa Posen, Gisella Quiroz, Karen Santiago, Jose Ramos, Lydia Romero, Martin Sanders, Aaron Shoon, Joel Sweimler, Ku Hsuan Tsui, Catherine Weese, Mindy Weisberger, Matt Usi.

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