"Unique" Google Web Lab takes power of the Internet to the Science Museum

By Ben Miller | 11 September 2012
A photo of a pencil being rotated by a metal circle drawing a mechanical line on sand
Web Lab enters the Science Museum© Science Museum
Exhibition Preview: Web Lab, Science Museum, London, until summer 2013

If it’s a little beyond the reach of the Science Museum’s collaboration with Google to physically bring the internet to a gallery, they’ve had a highly imaginative shot at capturing some of its wonder.

A photo of a large mechanical device shining light around a dimly-lit museum space
© Science Museum
An eight-piece robotic orchestra, for example, works in harmony, powered by the net, faced off by a bunch of other custom-built robots capable of taking photographs and sketching them in sand.

More stat-intensely, there’s a Data Tracer mapping the physical locations of the world’s online information stores, as well as a real-time visualisation of visitors, Lab Tab Explorer, which groups those viewing the show (in person and online) and then “categorises” them in “incredible ways”.

“Until now, all this magic has remained locked behind our screens,” explains Steve Vranakis, the Creative Director of the Lab for Google.

“Web Lab changes all that. We’ve worked with the Science Museum to create unique experiments that will demonstrate the power of the Internet to everyone who visits.

“The internet is incredible. It powers our lives everyday, allows us to explore the globe and lets us communicate with friends the world over.”

Despite the technological trickery behind this web of intrigue, curators have been careful to ensure it enlightens rather than overwhelms.

In addition to the original five experiments provided, they also want audiences to help inform the evolution of the show between now and next year.

  • Visit www.chromeweblab.com to take part. Open 10am-6pm (7pm during summer, closed December 24-26). Admission free.

More pictures:

A photo of a large see through industrial block inside a technologically-based gallery
© Science Museum
An image of the words web lab fixed on the wall inside a gallery full of technology
© Science Museum
A photo of a see-through hole within a gallery space full of technologically-advanced equipment
© Science Museum
A photo of various musical pieces waiting to be chimed by electronic drum pieces
© Science Museum
A photo of a map of the world on a huge screen in front of two controllable gallery portals
© Science Museum
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