Application Development for Interactive Exhibits



In April 2016, the CBTS Application Solutions team met with the client to discuss client’s need for custom interactive software to support a new exhibit that was opening in four months.

Client needed software that would provide visitors a deeply immersive experience; support a heavy volume of users; and provide the client’s staff with the necessary infrastructure to easily manage and update the exhibits.

Some of the key technical challenges and needs included:

  • Fluid touch-screen interaction.
  • Use of standard programming techniques and tools.
  • 4K display / touch-screen interaction for a Timeline exhibit.
  • High-definition video capturing the Story Station exhibit booths.
  • A custom Content Management System (CMS) that will allow the client to maintain database-driven content and approve videos prior to public release.
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) compliance to protect content created by visitors under the age of 13.
  • Infrastructure to support heavy interactive use among high volume of customers.


CBTS leveraged the following technologies to accomplish the client’s objectives on budget and on time:

  • Each workstation runs as a dedicated Central Processing Unit (CPU) using the Windows 10 operating system and solid state drives.
  • For the front-end technology, all exhibits were developed in HTML5 / CSS3 using various JavaScript frameworks and libraries to handle the desired interactions.
  • For the back-end technology, a Microsoft WebAPI RESTful service handles all exhibits’ interaction with the database, video uploads, notifications, and cloud-based content sync with the local CPUs.
  • The custom Content Management System (CMS) was developed in Microsoft MVC .NET and is hosted in the cloud.
  • The database server is the Microsoft SQL Server, also hosted in the cloud for ease of scaling in / out based on demand.
  • Microsoft SendGrid provides the platform for automated e-mails to visitors.
  • Google Chrome is the dedicated browser to run the HTML5 software and provides the necessary support for experimental video interaction with high-definition camera devices and full kiosk control.


Three separate interactive exhibits were developed for the client:

The Timeline

  • 75” 4k multi-touch display.
  • Database-driven historical events.
  • Visitor can swipe through the years, touch a specific year for more information, and interact with the multiple events for that given year through videos and other content.

Humanitarian Awards

  • Two 32” high-definition, multi-touch display monitors.
  • Database-driven interactive tabs for each annual Humanitarian Awards event.
  • Visitors can learn the history behind the awards and also watch all videos of the ceremonies for any given year, including performances and inspiring videos on award recipients.

Story Stations

  • Five 32” high-definition, multi-touch display monitors, plus 1080p high-definition cameras and sound isolated microphones.
  • Visitors create and watch inspirational videos of themselves and other visitors.
  • This interactive experience allows up to 3 visitors in one booth to share their experiences with
    the world.