Corrales high-tech firm Ideum is expected to finish its interactive display “Exploring the Structure of the Universe” SOON. The project is one of several featured by the N.M. Film Office highlighting the company’s growing reputation nationally and internationally. The interactive media production is scheduled to be online by 2025. It will allow visitors to one of the nation’s national laboratories to explore the next generation of particle accelerators,” according to the Film Office. The project “will allow researchers to peer more deeply into the structure of subatomic particles than ever before. What they learn will shed new light onto the structure of matter and the origin of the universe itself.”
Executive producer for the project is Ideum’s Hugh McDonald. Another project now in production, “The Body Explorer,” is a three-dimensional interactive exhibit for a science facility in the Middle East. “Visitors will explore an elaborate 3-D model of the human body and investigate the various medical technologies that can enhance human life,” the Film Office explained. “A wide range of technology from cochlear implants and artificial hearts to embedded microchipss and electronic tattoos are on display” with explanations of where the current science would lead. “The Body Explorer” is to be released next summer.
Ideum Producer Darold Ross explained it this way. “Humanity is continually re-conceptualizing what our relationship with technology is, even as technology evolves at a break-neck pace. “This experience will invite visitors to consider their own opinions on emerging technologies and how they interface with the human body. Visitors will answer questions about their personal feelings on the implementation of medical technology in the body, and see their answers represented in real time as they compare to other respondents. The survey will cover a wide range of moral and ethical questions across a broad range of technologies.”
“As our company continues to expand our work with world-class museums and Fortune 500 companies across the country and across the world, the New Mexico Film Office has been there every step of the way,” according to Ideum founder and chief executive officer Jim Spadaccini. “Their support has been vital to our success as we are quickly gaining an international reputation for developing creative and compelling digital interactives right here in New Mexico. Even during the darkest times in the pandemic, we were able to maintain more than 40 full-time positions while we continued our work and to land new opportunities.” (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXVII No.3 April 7, 2018 “Ideum Will Test Display Prototypes in Blue Sky Building.”)
Also under way is a soundscape and presentation system expected to be in production through next June. It is a collaboration with a zoo in the Midwest to create sounds for a new aquarium building. Closer to home, visitors to the Albuquerque BioPark’s “Bugarium” have experienced one of Ideum’s projects. Among scores of others are “Meet the Bisti Beast, New Mexico’s Tyrannosaur,” “Operation Smile: the global cleft palate repair project” and the U.S. Navy Seals History Project. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXIV, No.18 November 7, 2015 “Corrales Firm’s Display Featured at New ‘Bugarium.’”) In 2017, Ideum bought the former Blue Sky woodworking building at the corner of Corrales Road and West La Entrada, next to Village Pizza. Founded in the San Francisco area by Jim Spadaccini in 1999, Ideum relocated to Corrales in 2005, re-opening in a former gas station and auto mechanics garage. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIX, No.16 October 9, 2010 “Corrales Hi-Tech Firm Sells to Science Museums, iPhone.”)
As the business grew, Spadaccini moved to the office complex at the south end of Corrales, where Ideum occupies 22,000 square feet of space to design, produce and prototype innovative hardware and software equipment often used museums around the world. Products are interactive displays and multi-touch tables. The expansion to the former Blue Sky Woodworks building is used to build boxes for Ideum’s interactive display equipment. In 2017, Ideum got a $75,000 grant provided by the N.M. Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) program.
About five years ago, Spadaccini introduced an innovative new product, the Portrait Touch and Motion Kiosk, an interactive display system featuring an ultra high-definition 55-inch display with 60 touch points and motion-tracking sensors. The seven-foot tall kiosk is constructed of aircraft grade aluminum that contains touch guided screens for use at museums, trade shows and other settings. “The Portrait Touch and Motion Kiosk is our first all-in-one standing system,” he said. “It is the perfect addition to our line of multi-touch tables and Presenter touch walls. We have brought our years of experience in creating turnkey, integrated touch-systems to the Portrait Kiosk.” The units are designed in Corrales and built entirely in the United States.
As Spadaccini explained, Ideum focuses on creating “the next generation of visitor experiences that blend both the physical and digital realms.” The products are sold in 38 countries. Among other of Ideum’s clients and customers: the Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Apple Computers, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Exploratorium, National Science Foundation, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Technology Museum of Innovation, the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California-Berkeley, Marriott Resorts, the Chabot Space and Science Center and the Museum of the African Diaspora.
At the National Museum of the American Indian in the nation’s capital, Ideum produced a table top interactive display of a portion of the prehistoric Peruvian Inca Road near Machu Picchu. Anyone who has caught even a single episode of the CSI-type television shows that now proliferate would likely be familiar with what Ideum makes and sells. You probably recall seeing the TV detective walk up to a huge, colorful computer screen displaying multiple images of evidence and suspects. He then “grabs” one image to shift it to the center, then pokes the screen to instantly and dazzlingly bring up a plethora of data about that clue. Ideum’s Multi-Touch 50 model does all that.
Before founding Ideum, Spadaccini was director of interactive media at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. His department was responsible for developing educational web resources and media exhibits for the museum floor. For his work there, he received a Smithsonian Computerworld Award, an Association of Science and Technology Centers Award for innovation and three consecutive Webby Awards for “best science site” on the Internet.