The Tactile Dome

I went through an experience recently in the Exploratorium at San Francisco’s Pier 15. It was called the Tactile Dome. The interface of the Dome is unique in that there is no digital recording online nor any virtual means of viewing what is inside. It is something that needs to be experienced first-hand tangibly to understand it. Once inside the Dome, Me and three others walked, crawled, climbed, scuttled, and fell through the pitch black interactive maze with only our hands, ears and nose to guide us. While we were practically blind, the dome gave us the opportunity to stretch our imaginations with its different ‘enclosures’ and experiences. In one, I was on my hands and knees with what felt like grass underneath me and a slight artificial breeze blowing on my face. If I paused and thought about it, I could make myself believe I was in a wide meadow under open skies. My hands and my sense of touch were so sensitive that certain feelings invoked such strong memories. McCullough was right in saying that the hands are “the most closely connected with the mind.” I relied on my hands almost entirely to find the openings that moved our group forward through the maze. I felt and probed everything in front and around me to figure out if it was safe to move ahead and emerge unscathed out the other side. The experience was designed for the users to understand and accept the extent to which our other sensory organs of touch can guide our interpretation  of the world around us.

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