This plan shows the layout of the Recording Britain exhibition in the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield and shows where we have positioned the Estimote beacons. See the previous post for a video walkthrough of the app in use in the gallery.
The exhibition is in a single room (approx. 22m x 14m), which contains some temporary (hollow) walls that are about 2m high. These are the blue rectangles marked on the plan. The photos below help give a sense of the scale of the gallery.
The exhibition is split into three themed zones:
- Old England
- The humble landscape
- Defending rural Britain.
In our app we detect which zone the user is in and show relevant content for each zone. This presented quite a few challenges. The zones are rather irregular shapes, and there is not much in the way of physical separation between the zones. The temporary walls are wooden with a metal frame and do not provide much shielding from the beacon signals. We have had a couple of goes at positioning the beacons. The end result works pretty well and, as you can see from the plan, consists of three beacons per zone. All are at a height of about 2m and pointing downwards (more of that in a separate post). We would have liked to position the beacons a bit lower than this but the curator was understandably not keen. The beacons are at 4dB power level, which we found was the level that gave optimum differentiation of beacon signals when the user is around 2m from a beacon.
There are some key conclusions we reached:
- set the power levels to be the same for all beacons
- set the power to be high enough to give good short-range differentiation (4dB was optimum)
- position the beacons pointing downwards
- have the same number of beacons for each zone
- do plenty of averaging of the beacon readings, and discard any spikes (we set this to be anything outside of two standard deviations)