I clearly remember how my parents always asked me to steer clear of breakable and fragile items in a particular supermarket, especially near the dinnerware area where fine bone china plates are on display. Not only that, there were also signboards plastered all over the place saying, “Nice to see, lovely to hold. Once broken, considered sold.” I guess museums pretty much follow the same philosophy as well, although you can say that the artifacts there are generally priceless. In fact, most objects in museums tend to be behind a thick case of glass, so all you can do is admire it from the outside.
The Manchester Museum in England hopes to change the way things are run by allowing visitors to “touch” digital models of their existing exhibits, thanks to a haptic device that they call Probos. “Haptic” so happens to mean “having to do with touch” where it will simulate the contours of a virtual object. All you need to do is sit down in front of a device that has a display and a connected stylus via a mechanical arm, where the display will then show off a 3D model of an object – it can be anything like a pot, bone or statue, and the stylus allows one to interact with that model just like how a computer mouse does with a normal computer screen. An Iron Man future, perhaps? This would surely make museum visits more interesting and exciting.