Exhibition opens tomorrow: Das Netz @ Deutsches Technikmuseum

The projects that kept me busy over the last months are almost finished! Tomorrow the new permanent exhibition “Das Netz” at the “Deutsches Technikmuseum” will open. Felix Scharstein and I developed and build three interactive exhibits for this.

You can read about the exhibition at the german computer news portal heise.de. Two of our exhibits – the “Memex” and the “Paketvermittlung” (paket switching) – are mentioned in the last paragraph. The development process of the exhibition was documented in a blog (Memex, Flipdots). Another article can be found at deutschland-vernetzt.de (the fourth picture shows the unfinished Paketvermittlung).

I will add some pictures and technical details in the next days.

Visualize Packet Routing with FlipDots

Another exhibit for the Berlin Museum of Technolgy will be a visualization of packet routing in networks. A large wall will show a network of nodes and edges, where the connections (edges) are formed by lines of FlipDots. When the visitors send data over the network there will be a lot of optical and acoustical feedback. :-)


We plan to use more than 1000 dots that are connected with different RS485 bus segments and controlled by a bunch of PSoC 4 microcontrollers. Capacitive sensors will be used for user input and a lot of RGB LEDs provide visual output. The whole scene will be controlled by a python application using the networkx modules.

Pictures will be posted here soon.

Building a MEMEX

I recently started building a MEMEX device for a new exhibition “Das Netz” in the Berlin Museum of Technolgy. The MEMEX is a vision of a scientist from the 1940s about future knowledge management based on microfilms.


The exhibit will use computer components instead but it will simulate the look and feel of a microfilm device. At the moment I have fully functional software simulation (coded in python) of the device to define and test the complete user interface and the typical processes.


In the next step we will build the components (database, displays, keyboard and camera) as independent modules. These modules will communicate over a standard ethernet connection.

The current design is the following:

Database fanless PC with a MongoDB server (Linux)
Monitors Raspberry Pi with a 13.3″ Display (software: python)
Keyboard Arduino with a 64-Button-Shield, Buttons and a transport lever
Camera Raspberry Pi with a RaspiCam (software: python)