The Magic Forest

The Magic Forest is an interactive exhibit we created to showcase the power of our IoT Edge Platform at the 44th annual MCN Conference: The Human Centered Museum. In our initial Discovery phase, we pinpointed the museum industry as an ideal case-study for our platform. We knew that the best way to test an idea is to actually roll up our sleeves and get to work, so once we discovered the conference we quickly bought exhibitor passes and started brainstorming.

We wanted to create an experience for our MCN booth that would showcase the versatility of edge computing. Over the years we’ve graduated from traditional digital, screen-based experiences into interactive and experiential spaces; how screens, physical elements, sound, and lights can all be incorporated into one unified experience. Motivated and excited by the potential of this project, we all agreed that the most impactful thing we could create was an actual museum exhibit, rather than a standard sales booth.

Closeup of The Magic Forest's foliage

Constructing The Forest

The Magic Forest is composed of a host pedestal and seven display pedestals, each decked out with their own Raspberry Pi computer running our platform, speakers, lighting elements, and stylized foliage connected to motorized servos. The design concept of the plant life was to create a highly-stylized and abstracted forest floor with vivid hues and illustrative aesthetics. These began as sketches inspired by some of our Forest Giant branding, which evolved into laser cut and hand-painted wooden pieces to adorn each of the seven pedestals. To add to the immersion, sound effects were created in-house to compliment the style of the vegetation. The host pedestal was equipped with a Leap Motion controller and Mac Mini, allowing a simple hand gesture to activate the full experience.

Programming The Magic Forest

Simple hand gestures active The Magic Forest

Uprooting: From Louisville to New Orleans

As complex as The Magic Forest is, from the beginning it was built to be mobile. The entire piece can be broken down; even the wooden leaves fit into their own respective slots. This forethought was extremely valuable when the team packed up The Magic Forest in a van and drove down to New Orleans in November. Once everything was set back up, we fired up the platform and spent the week engaging with the flourishing and forward-thinking museum technology community.

The FG crew at The Magic Forest booth for MCN 2016

The decision for us to participate in MCN 2016 granted us with a wealth of knowledge and insight into one of the many use cases we felt suitable for our edge computing platform. We are continuing to pursue and test our platform in several other industries as well. Stay updated on our work by starring Stela and Iris on GitHub, chatting with our team on Gitter, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or stop by our office for a full demo of The Magic Forest.