And an integral part of that accessibility is ensuring that hearing impaired youngsters derive the same benefit from the gallery as their friends, so Ampetronic induction loops have been installed along with the 50 sophisticated exhibits and devices, which provide both a hands and minds-on introduction to the basic principles of physics.
With such activities as launching a rocket, capturing a multicoloured shadow, turning your head into a sound box and controlling a magnetic cloud available, Launchpad is the Science Museum’s centrepiece and is, as such, a ‘must see’ for every visitor - for both young and old alike.
Staffed by trained Explainers, the gallery also features twin demonstration areas where ‘performing science shows’ are staged, including the use of high voltage electricity.
The induction loops were installed by Surrey-based Sysco, system integrators for the complete Launchpad exhibition. The induction loops covered the main Launchpad gallery along with the Briefing Room and Show Space demonstration areas. All featured phased array loops, designed by Ampetronic, utilising two ILD300 loop amplifiers each in Launchpad and the Briefing Room, with two ILD1000Gs in the Show Space. All also feature an SP5 Phase Shifter.
Feeds for the induction loops come from small PA systems in Show Space and the Briefing Room, where the Explainers are equipped with microphones during the demonstrations. In the Launchpad gallery the feeds come from the museum’s public address system.
Show Space and the Briefing Room are essentially open spaces, so installation of the induction loops was fairly straightforward, copper tape being laid beneath carpet tiles. However, the Launchpad gallery proved more of a challenge.
“There are not only a lot of exhibits in a ‘dog leg’ shaped room, but a lot of metalwork in them,” says Sysco’s Chris Mothersdale. “This meant we not only had to work round the exhibits, sometimes in very cramped spaces between the them, but there were also significant issues of metal loss to overcome. It was a challenge, but the system works very well.
“We’ve worked with Ampetronic a number of times and we’ve always been very happy with its system design and equipment design. The equipment is very installation-friendly and their designs always work well.”