Introduction Video of the Cooper Hewitt Pen
The Cooper Hewitt Pen is a pen designed to allow the visitor to save his or her experience at the museum by scanning a sign at each display and accessing those same displays on the web at home. In addition, it allows visitors to draw on interactive tables set up throughout the museum. The goal of the pen is to teach people about design, and what better way to learn about design than by designing yourself? That’s why Cooper Hewitt proposed this idea of visitor technology: for people to engage in the works of a museum rather than just observing them.
In order to create this visitor technology, a lot of design teams, manufacturing companies, engineers, and management teams were involved. The concept of the Cooper Hewitt Pen itself was created by two design teams, Local Projects and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Then, prototypes of the pen were made through the teamwork of 5 companies/teams: Undercurrent (a management consulting firm), Sistelnetworks (a wireless product company), General Electric, Makesimply (a manufacturing company), and Tellart (Cooper Hewitt’s own digital team). When creating the prototypes, Cooper Hewitt and Undercurrent were inspired by Sistelnetworks’ vWand, an inventory control device that had most of the technical requirements of the interactive pen they were trying to make. As a result, this project used the current software Sistelnetworks used with a few changes made to the internal circuits and electronics in order to fit the function of their pen. Afterwards, the final prototype of the pen was manufactured by Sistelnetworks and Makesimply. Lastly, the pen was available for use at the Cooper Hewitt Museum.
What’s so amazing about this pen is that it allows for the continuation of an experience, whenever and wherever. I can take out my phone and look at the same displays I looked at in the museums without having to go back to the museum itself. Having this kind of interactive technology everywhere will allow people to personalize and amplify the quality of each experience forever. In addition, it will allow people to think or see things differently. The interaction between the user and product allows the user to learn about how the product reacts to his or her specific actions. It forces the user to make connections between action and result as well as to think about what to do next and to question what else could happen if a different action were to be taken. It makes the user think more in depth about a certain experience and to view it differently, which inevitably makes the user mentally and creatively grow.