Matt Cottam

"I'm interested in how the physical world and computing are intertwined"

HDYD Session

We work for different companies, and were very interesting in synthesizing the virtual and the physical.
We did a lot of projects in the past 13 years. Today I will tell you about one, namely the Google Chrome Web Lab.

What interests me so much is how the physical world and computing are intertwined. I was able to find my dog back because he had a RFID tag.
Chrome came to us because they wanted to market the Chrome browser and to educate. They asked if we could show some experiments.
We teacht the science of speed, because Chrome is so fast. We realised that it would be more interesting to show how the web works.
We thought: why not to make a science museum exibition where amazing elements of the web are shows. Let's show the principles.

An exhibition that is inspired by the magic of the modern web.
We wanted to explore the idea that people would come to the mseum and continue the experience at home, or that people around the world could visit the museum online. The London Science Museum provided a lot of space and researchers as well.

So we started to build some prototypes. One of the installations allow you to watch a space somewhere in the world in 360 degrees.
To make all this, we lived in the basement of the museum for two months. There we created the Universal Orchestra, etc.

There were many factors that influenced the experiments that we came up with. For example, there was the problem of privacy.
We needed lawyers in the design team to decide how we could anonymize our experiments.

All the constrictions actually influenced the design. If people were able to draw their faces on actual paper in the museum, the museum would be filled up with paper very soon. If you draw with sand, you can actually erase it.

The Data Tracer shows you in a visual way how packetswitching acutally works. We build all the robots from scratch.


Matt Cottam is co-founder of Tellart, a design company that is split accross New York, London and Amsterdam. The last two years they've been working with Google on the Chrome Web lab, an exhibition that is currently on show in the London Science Museum in London. The exhibit aims to show young kids, who take it for granted, how incredible the internet really is.

In a playful way 5 installations explain things like the routes packets take, or how datacompression works. A lot of the installation can be simultanueously played with both online and on location, which leads to interesting interactions.


Why we invited Matt

Matt has been working on this extraordinary project for two years. Who did that proces that long work? How was working together across so many locations and with such large partners as Google?

You can play with the Google Chrome Web Lab in your own browser right now (although you might need the Chrome browser):



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