Out of this World


British Library
May 2011

Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it, is the British Library's first exhibition to explore science fiction through literature, film, illustration and sound.


The predictions table is a fun quiz that tests multiple players' science fiction knowledge.

The clothed table, with a mysterious crystal ball in the centre, playfully evokes the character of a fortune teller's table. Here however, the table asks as many questions as it answers.

Visitors peer into the crystal ball to see a spiralling object materialise, and then projections on the table surface present a question about that object. Visitors answer the questions by touching the surface of the table, which has capacitance sensors underneath.

Clay / 9000 (AKA Sleepy Robot)

When he’s awake the Clay / 9000 is designed to tell visitors stories about well-known robots in science fiction literature. The stories are animated on a screen embedded into his chest.

Using a Kinect sensor and our custom software, the sleepy robot can detect when visitors approach. When they do, he wakes up and follows them with his eyes whilst he tells them stories about robots from science fiction featured in the exhibition.

The robot was designed and prototyped in-house using 3D software before being fabricated in glass reinforced plastic. The design integrated two LCD displays, speakers and a Kinect sensor into its form with room for a Mac Mini and ventilation.

Over 114,000 visitors explored this temporary exhibition at the British Library.

Exhibition Designers:
Real Studios