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Shelly – Living With The Sea

An interactive installation about the life of a sea turtle

«Shelly» is a life-size sea turtle which invites visitors to engage with it. By simply putting their hand on the turtle’s shell, they will be taken on a fascinating journey and experience a richly visual piece of her life story. Through an interactive installation, and projections of evocative images and animations onto her back, «Shelly» becomes deceptively life-like; visitors learn interesting facts in an interactive way – about the different stages from laying eggs and hatching to travelling the world between continents – but they are also made aware of the dangers which threaten the species.


«This interdisciplinary work shows that there are no limits to turning scientific content into a learning experience.»

Making Of

Through the project’s combination of techniques of Interaction Design with the visual possibilities of Scientific Visualisation, new forms of knowledge transfer are explored. Natural science museums provide an ideal platform for communicating scientific content to visitors.

Following in the footsteps of the increasingly relevant scientainment approach, the aim of the exhibit «Shelly» is to give diverse groups of visitors a fascinating and memorable experience («magic moment»), connected with the transfer of knowledge. By touching the model, visitors activate their haptic sense, and scientific content is thus communicated in a holistic way, as part of an emotional experience.

The risk-taking involved deserves a special mention – during the whole process, the two sisters were willing to tackle techniques and technologies which had been unfamiliar to them, showing right from the start that they were completely open towards going beyond their own disciplines (including forays into material technology, model making, technological development, as well as animation and narration). Because of the decidedly positive feedback, and the very positive reception of the prototype «Shelly» by their cooperative partners, it has already been decided that the collaboration will continue on another project.

The project was created in cooperation with the Zoological Museum at the University of Zurich.