The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation opens its new Visitor Center in Seattle starting this weekend, giving the philanthropy a new opportunity to inform and engage the public in its mission of improving education and global health for the world’s poor.
The high-tech system, which captures and displays high-resolution pictures of visitors in a montage on the wall, is one of many ways that the foundation is using technology to make the Visitor Center more interactive.
Other examples include kiosks where people can post messages in response to what they’re experiencing, or create interactive posters to share on Facebook.
In several cases, the exhibits use tactile interfaces such as large wooden cylinders to navigate interactive screens — aiming to make the technology more approchable.
“Visitor research shows that when people are engaged with their body, when there’s movement involved, they retain information, they’re much more engaged in the experience that they’re having,” explained the Gates Foundation’s Diane Andolsek. “So we try to integrate engagement into as many of the areas as we can.”
And yes, for the record, it all runs on Windows.
Perhaps the most eye-catching exhibit is a massive moving conveyor belt that stretches up at least two stories, listing all of the grants the foundation has made. Check it out in my video above, with highlights from a media preview this afternoon.
The space, at the Gates Foundation HQ across from Seattle Center, opens to the public starting Saturday. Admission is free.