Berkshire Museum's Feigenbaum Hall upgrade includes state-of-the-art brain-wave game


PITTSFIELD >> The Berkshire Museum is upgrading one of its most popular core exhibitions to make it more contemporary.

The first in the series of upgrades to the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation will include the installation of a cutting-edge game called "Mindball," which allows opponents to score goals on each other by moving a ball with their brains.

Created by the Canadian company NovelQuest Enterprises, Mindball uses EEG biofeedback sensors to track each players' alpha and theta brain waves to move the ball. It is the only game of its kind in Massachusetts that will be available to the public.

"Mindball is the big splashy centerpiece, the newest of the visitor engagement things," said Maria Mingalone, the Berkshire Museum's director of curatorial affairs and collections.

"You move a ball with your mind," she said. "I just think it's amazing."

The 3,000-square-foot Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation will reopen on April 16.

Subsequent renovations will take place annually over the next five years, Mingalone said. They are being supported by a $500,000 grant from the Feigenbaum Foundation, founded by the late brothers Donald and Armand Feigenbaum, who ran General Systems Corp. of Pittsfield. The Hall of Innovation is named after them.

The first renovation will cost between $80,000 and $100,000, Mingalone said.

It was determined that regular upgrades, rather than a one-time overhaul, would be the best way to ensure improvements took advantage of the latest advances in innovation, said Berkshire Museum Executive Director Van Shields.

Besides Mindball, initial renovations to the hall include new painting and carpeting, new video displays, interactive activities, and artwork and an updating of the thematic panels that are included in the exhibit.

The museum also will debut its brand new interactive app, i-Innovate, which will provide several digital viewer experiences, including opportunities to create and innovate right in the galleries.

This is the first time the Berkshire Museum has renovated the Hall of Innovation since it opened in March 2008. The space explores Berkshire innovations in science, technology, business, political culture and the arts.

Featured innovators include everyone from Frank Julian Sprague, who invented the first non-sparking electric motor to Jacob's Pillow founder Ted Shawn, who created the first-ever all-male dance company.

"The Hall of Innovation is about having innovation all around us," Mingalone said. "Innovations that happen here in Berkshire County have worldwide impact."

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.


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