NFC Custom Products: Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

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Interactive Pen at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York



Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the USA devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The Museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational and curatorial programming.


Sistelnetworks has participated in an international team to create a custom-designed hardware based on Sistelnetworks’s vWand for the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York.

All visitors will be encouraged to use an interactive Pen to collect and create. Symbolizing and embodying human creativity, the Pen is a key part of every visitor’s experience. With it, they will be able to record their visit, which can be viewed and shared online and supplemented during future visits.

GE and Sistelnetworks, working alongside Cooper Hewitt and Undercurrent, turned sketches into working prototypes. Sistelnetworks changed the way the vWand’s electronics operated, and then GE’s industrial design team designed a sleeker form for museum use. This collaborative industrial design process mirrors how designers solve real-world problems and the process that many of the objects in the museum’s collection have undergone.

Using the Interactive Pen


How the pen works

The Pen reads data from object labels throughout the museum. This data is stored in the Pen’s onboard memory, which can then be accessed at interactive tables located in the museum galleries. These large-size, ultra-high-definition tables and screens facilitate use of the Pen to explore and manipulate the objects that visitors have collected; explore related objects in Cooper Hewitt’s collection; understand the context of the collection; learn more about designers, design processes and materials; watch and share videos; and even sketch their own original designs.

The stylus tip of the Pen provides a far greater fidelity for drawing and sketching on the interactive tables than a finger, allowing the interactive tables to make the most of their ultra-high-definition displays.

Each Pen is paired with the visitor’s ticket, allowing them to later log in to the online record that they created of their museum visit. Visitors can also share all the objects that they have collected and created, as well as build their personal collection every time they visit.

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About Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum educates, inspires and empowers people through design, presenting compelling educational programs, exhibitions and publications. International in scope and possessing one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence, the museum’s rich holdings range from Egypt’s Late Period/New Kingdom (1100 B.C.) to the present day and total more than 200,000 objects.

Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City.