Japanese Friendship Garden Zen of Multitouch: Building touch interactive exhibits with HTML5 technology

Wesley Hsu, Balboa Park Online Collaborative, USA

In this project, the Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG) sought to harness technology in a traditionally technology-free environment of a Japanese garden to create an interactive experience for users about the Japanese garden as well as the JFG’s partner gardens in the US. The project is an interactive map experience which highlights specific spots on the map that link to content. Most notably, some hotspots bring you to 360-degree panoramas of that position in the garden. Within the panoramas, objects are highlighted, providing more information about each of the objects through text, image, and video. Videos included introductions to Japanese tea ceremonies, traditional instruments, and bonsai trimming, among others. Additionally, users were given the opportunity to visit the JFG’s partner gardens in other parts of the US and view panoramas of those gardens as well.
The demo will highlight the use of touch screen technology in conjunction with HTML5 technology. Since the exhibit was built entirely within a browser, we will focus on demonstrating the capabilities of HTML5 libraries that harness touch events, particularly on large scale screens. The touch application will be on display, allowing users to see how seamlessly a touch web application can be integrated into an exhibition setting. We will also focus on how and which HTML5 libraries were selected in order to keep the costs of the project low. In addition, we will be discussing other free or low-cost HTML5 technology that we are interested in further pursuing.

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