Museums: Diffusing the Epidemic of Isolation

Simiosys™ Real World Labs at the Midland Texas Planetary to apply their StoryTroves™to excite museum professionals with techniques of engaging people with communicative disabilities.

Simiosys™ Real World Labs at the Midland Texas Planetary to apply their StoryTroves™to excite museum professionals with techniques of engaging people with communicative disabilities.

There are many marginalized groups of society that disappear to the general public because they feel unwanted, disconnected or irrelevant to society. People with disabilities, in hospitals, in senior care facilities, in refugee camps, or on deployment are just a few groups that suffer silently from isolation. This seems counter intuitive since social media has made us the most connected generation in history. Yet isolation is a growing epidemic that Science Daily reports as a greater public health hazard than obesity.

How can our museums and technological innovation help diffuse this dangerous trend that leads to more serious health issues? Isolation is completely preventable! As community centers, museums can play a much more important role than just housing collections of artifacts and learning displays. Museums with modern social media can also become a collection of relationships, conversations and social engagements. These community learning centers, regardless of theme, can become more community oriented in a way to help and learn from each other, but they need new tools to leverage.

Simiosys™ Real World Labs ventured to Midland Texas Planetary to apply their StoryTroves™ to excite museum professionals with techniques of engaging People With Aphasia (PWA) using techniques developed by the Aphasia Access, a community of Speech Language Pathologists (SLP). StoryTroves™ is a form of story therapy activity that a) stimulates human connection, b) social engagement and c) exercising of the imagination that provides social stimulation, which enhances both learning and therapy. This is the same approach that is being used by Simiosys to research how to address isolation with astronauts in deep space exploration.  Their research, sponsored by the Space Florida Organization’s international partnership grant, is applying a virtual version of StoryTroves™ to prevent the ill effects of isolation that is anticipated with living on Mars as reported by Florida High Tech magazine this year.

Aphasia is a loss of language, due to a stroke or head trauma. When People with Aphasia visit museums, they are faced with a wall of words (see photo above) that they cannot read and confronted by docents who are uncomfortable dealing with people with unusual speech patterns and that have difficulty finding words. As seen in the photo of the Midland Planetarium session of the Magic Box StoryTrove™, the museum is surrounded by language that isolates them from the wonders of the planetarium experience. However, the StoryTrove™ initiates an engagement technique called “Conversational Story Creation” that stimulates a lively and in-depth communication that goes beyond words. It utilizes authored boxes of artifacts that provoke stimulating stories in one’s imagination.

The StoryTroves™have been used at both the University of Central Florida’s Aphasia House and and Public History Center and are advancing the InterPlay experiential learning strategies that we developed with Dr. Atsusi “2C” Hirumi from the University of Central Florida Department of Educational Science and Human Services.  The InterPlay Instructional Strategy combines the heuristics of story, play and game with grounded theories of experiential learning.

Explore more about our research through presentations given at the Augmented World Expo @AWE

StoryTroves™ and Mixed Reality Aphasia Therapy

StoryTroves™ Storytelling and the Internet of Things

StoryTroves™ and the Language of VR

Copyright © 2017 Simiosys