Title:As We May Learn: The Coming Fusion of Maker Technologies, Spatial Computing, and IoT
Authors:Bill Meyer
Publication:MW2020: MuseWeb 2020

This paper discusses how location-based learning exhibits—3D experiential interactives—can now be developed and scaled in ways not previously possible, nor imaginable. By analogy: Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb might seem like obvious developments in hindsight, but early in the 21st century when the new medium of mobile computing was still in earlier stages, such applications (that merge GPS, Internet, smart mobile devices, cloud computing, and social networking) were far from self-evident. Today the most valuable hotel company doesn’t own the properties its customers stay in. The most valuable public transportation companies don’t own the vehicles that transport their customers. The most valuable movie rental company streams its content. 

Might museums of the future exist as networked physical entities, where IKEA style kit-of-parts exhibits are easily duplicated and assembled, existing in high schools, libraries, malls, and other public spaces? Could a docent or facilitator be virtually present, with a Learning Record Store (LRS) seamlessly integrated? The author believes the answer is yes. All the key pieces exist today, though they have yet to be coherently merged. 

This paper explores how digitally controlled fabrication devices (3D printers, laser cutters, and CNCs) and the emerging medium of spatial computing (virtual, augmented and mixed reality) integrated with the Internet are destined to make the above vision a physical and virtual reality.