visualMUSE is an inspiration board (approximately 40″x30″) with embedded internet-ready screens and a companion online image management system that combines the tactile experience of pinning up clippings and swatches as an inspirational tool with the wealth of visual resources now available the internet. Inspired by traditional inspiration boards, I designed visualMUSE as an attempt to address an interesting question: How can we bridge the digital divide in inspirational tools by combining the viscerally stimulating tactile experience of viewing physical inspirational artifacts on a physical board with the massive amount of inspirational imagery available on the web?
visualMUSE addresses this question by integrating both experiences onto one plane while equipping the designer with the digital resources to keep a record of the images that they view (and which images they find immediately inspiring). The embedded screens on the board rotate through images that have been retrieved based on the user-determined keywords, and all the user has to do is press a button underneath the screen to save or discard an image. All of this information is recorded on a database so that the user can review his or her selections at the end of the day. The physical board pictured is accompanied by an image management tool that I hand-coded with PHP and MySQL to handle the data retrieval side of the project.