The new Helsinki City Museum opens its doors today and the public can now visit one of the most exciting projects we've done at Futurice - the Time Machine!
The exhibit was designed and built in cooperation with the museum, their partners and, most importantly, the people of Helsinki. Using cutting edge technology and the photographs of legendary photographer Signe Brander, it takes visitors back in time.
Getting out of the building is one of the rules we live by. In Lean Service Creation projects (like this one), we advise our customers to bring the end-user into the picture as early as possible. In this case, potential visitors were first interviewed about which past era of Helsinki they'd most like to visit. The early 20th century was an overwhelming favourite. Lucky for all of us, a hundred years ago the city had commissioned Brander to document life in Helsinki.
Despite the importance of helping people get involved in designing the services they use, the fact that we have archival material like these photographs nicely emphasises the importance of making sure that museums and other memory organisations continue to have access to sufficient resources, even in this crowdsourced age.
The Time Machine uses and takes full advantage of cutting edge tech. The consumer-grade Oculus Rift that the service is built on won't be widely available until this summer. VR is definitely the tech of the moment, as companies try to find problems that VR can solve, I'll be playing close attention to see how VR is used for services in the future.
As exciting as the technology we've employed is, it's still secondary. This was a 100% substance-first project and it exists to serve the citizens of Helsinki, making our connection with our own past just that much more vibrant and tangible.
Working on something that has such an impact on our culture and collective memory is a real privilege.
Read more about the Time Machine here.