The AQUARIUM saw its debut at the 2004 Contact Conference at NASA Ames in Mountain View, CA.  Participants were able to create virtual sea-creatures using an L-Systems based creature evolver, create motion behaviours for them and then follow their movements in a virtual undersea habitat and physics simiulator.  The kiosk was fitted with a center joystick and two theremin-style motion sensor controls for input.

The experience from this exhibition revealed some issues:

- The theremin controls were problematic for more than one reason-- it wasn't obvious enough how they worked and response time and sensitivity was poor due to performance problems.  Originally there were 4 such sensors, but two were replaced onsite with the joystick once the performance problems surfaced.   The problem stemmed from the fact that a single PC was used to drive the realtime simulation and visual processing as well as the input processing, and given the tendency of users to evolve more and more complex creatures, performance effects became more and more noticable as input latency and simulation timing jitter.  Isolating the input processing would keep the simulation speed smooth, even as it slows down due to increased complexity.

- The lighting of the venue was difficult to control-- lower was better for the projection, but the rest of the room was mostly filled with traditional artwork (paintings, photos, sculptures) that needed plenty of light.  It appears a acceptable compromise was reached but there is likely more that can be done in the future.

- The creature "evolver" program ran on a few available PC's around the convention, which turned out to be scarce resources making it impossible to keep the program always available and inviting.   In the future we'll need to dig up some additional PCs to be configured dedicated for that purpose.

Despite these issues, the exhibit was well recieved by the attendees, and operated reliably for the duration of the convention.