Visitors to the Idaho Falls Public Library may have noticed two new machines that have been set up around the building.
The large, blocky kiosks feature a small city on display behind a Plexiglas screen. Idaho Falls’ city logo is emblazoned across the top and a touch screen at the bottom invites people to explore the “Story of Water.”
The kiosks arrived in April as part of a city government push to raise awareness about how water flows through a city like Idaho Falls. The kiosks were paid for by a $90,000 Department of Energy grant intended to provide public outreach on water conservation and stormwater flow.
“The best way we thought about teaching people was to create a story about how water circulates through a city, not just looking at drinking water but including wastewater and stormwater,” city water superintendent David Richards said.
The kiosks were built by Unrivaled, a marketing and design company based in Ogden, Utah, from a design that been intended for another client. When users activate the machine using the touch screen, the city model lights up to show how water moves underground in a city and explaining the impact of that movement. The city display inside the kiosk is based on previous tabletop models the city used for similar demonstrations.
Although the kiosks are more than six feet tall and heavy-looking, they have wheels at the bottom and are designed to be moved around to different locations around the city. They already have been moved to be displayed during the city’s Earth Day and Water Festival events.
Idaho Falls officials are looking to find a second location for the kiosks so they will not always be in the same building and they want to make small improvements to the devices, such as adding voice-over to accompany the text displayed on the screens. Overall, though, Richards said he was happy with the public reaction to the installations.
“As far as the story and the storyboarding for the kiosk, I think they’re working well,” Richards said.