museums, schools and colleges - using simulations for public display
For public display purposes, it can be important to restrict the control the viewer has over the simulation, to ensure it remains in the right state for future viewers. Materialworlds has two relevant features:
be run in full screen mode to display a simulation so that a user sees only
the simulation and has no mouse access to the browser controls.
This is acheived by running a *.mwu file (simply a text file containing the URL of the simulation page) which launches the browser in full screen mode to display the web page.
This is how the "Full Screen Simulations" under the "Start button: Program: MaterialWords" menu work - and it's easy to create your own:
Use a text editor (eg. Notepad) to create a text file containing the location of the simulation you want to run - say "C:\Program Files\MaterialWorlds\site\sims\SolarSystem\index.html" - and save it with the extension .mwu
Opening a *.mwu file runs the program weblaunch (supplied with materialworlds) and weblaunch then launches InternetExplorer in its full-screen mode and passes it the URL of the simulation web page (which may be on the web, local network or disk drive).
Closing the browser requires access to the keyboard: Press Alt-Tab to switch to the weblaunch program, then click Close.
Putting an *.mwu file (or a shortcut to one) in the C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp folder will launch the full screen simulation when the computer starts up.
|Simulations that could be "upset" by user interaction (or just by running for too long) can be set to rewind automatically after a preset time - into a state fit for a new viewer.|
For exhibition simulations,
you might want to simplify our current simulations. For example, you might
prefer to present a single different solar system simulation on each of an
array of computers - removing the left hand panel of simulation options.
This can be done by editing the *.mwu file to refer to just the simuation to be displayed.
could be changed to
Simulations can of course be customized in other ways, or completely new simulations created (see our resources). The more radical the change, the more likely we'll need to do this for you.
One idea for creating simulation exhibits is that of running a simulation alongside the real physical phenomenon - a pendulum for example - to encourage experimenting viewers to imagine the forces made visible in the simulation acting in the physical reality.