Cyborg Box was an installation that took place at Universeum during two days in October 2019 as a part of an exhibition under the theme of “Showing the invisible”. Conducted in collaboration between Universeum and The Masters Programme in Interaction Design at Chalmers University of Technology with the aim of increasing the interest for technology for secondary school students. Cyborg Box aimed to be a fun interactive way for teenagers to learn more about senses and biotechnology.
Users experienced how it was to use a new sense, the sense of ultrasound which was provided by equipping a helmet that also blinded the users. With this new sense the user was instructed to walk through the Cyborg Box without touching the walls.
The maze was equipped with a webcam that filmed a path inside of the maze with green screen-mounted walls that could be viewed on a screen from the outside with a filter applied to the recording so that observers could see the person inside as if he was walking in another setting. In addition, the image was inverted as to confuse spectators and prevent them from planning ahead.
Outside the maze, posters with information about cyborgs and biotechnology were placed as well as information about senses and how bats use ultrasound to navigate.
The helmet is a modified welding helmet equipped with three ultrasonic sensors in different angles that creates and listens to audio waves. Inside the helmet are three vibration motors connected to the sensors, two on the sides and one pointing forward. The vibration intensity varies depending on the distance to an object and gets stronger the closer the users are to a wall, providing the users with enough information for them to navigate without vision. Wearing the helmet should provide a feeling of being turned into a cyborg.
The size of the maze is 2.4 x 4.8 metres, with a height of 2.5 metres. 9 particleboards were used for the construction of the maze. The maze had a dead end, with the purpose of confusing users and guide them wrongly. The outside of the maze was painted with strong blue and pink colors to provide a cyberpunk feel.