App Note:
A Simple Museum Audio Interactive
Audio, Lighting and Buttons
With a very small investment, you can turn your standard display case into an exciting multi-media exhibit using Alcorn McBride products.

Our museum has a display case portraying the evolution of the tools used in the local farming industry, from the early part of the 17th century up to the present day. Presently, there is a plaque hanging behind each tool with some text in local language and in English for international visitors. Individual spotlights shine on each section of the display case. Not incredibly exciting, and the visitors seem to pass over this section of the exhibit quite quickly, with only a precious few who actually read the interesting information on the plaques.

It's very easy to make an exhibit like this much more exciting using a Digital Audio Machine and an InterActivator. Here's how:

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Block Diagram

At each section of the exhibit case there are two pushbuttons: English and Local language. The visitor pushes the button corresponding to his language, and the pre-recorded text on the plaque is read aloud over loudspeakers positioned overhead. To make things more exciting, this text can be mixed together with music or even interesting sounds typical for your exhibit (farmers working in the field, tools clanking together, etc.). At the same time, the spotlight shines for this particular portion of the exhibit being viewed. (This way, you have the added advantage of saving energy costs for when the exhibit is not being viewed). Depending upon the size and scope of the exhibit, the show can continue either manually, with a pushbutton for each particular section of the exhibit case, or automatically, moving the visitor along the length of the case by turning off the spotlight at the present section, and on in the next with the associated music and text already beginning. 

This setup is practical and efficient for your museum because it makes use of the existing exhibit architecture. Construction or other architectural changes to your museum are not at all necessary. The machines are simple to set up and install, and your professional systems integrator can program them in a snap. 

The Alcorn McBride equipment necessary for this application example are the MP3 Audio Machine and the InterActivator show controller. The MP3 stores and plays back the digital audio files on demand, in this case in response to the button pushed. The InterActivator controls the Digital Audio Machine and the lighting. Additional components which may be needed are external pushbuttons, a serial-controlled lighting dimmer, and loudspeakers.

Alternatives and other ideas for this example:

For miniature exhibit setups, LEDs can be lit up at appropriate sections of the exhibit, for example on a map, instead of spotlights. Additional languages can be offered as well, this is simply just an additional track of information stored in digital format on the Digital Audio Machine. 

Audio AM4
Show Control



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