Cooper-Hewitt Museum Acquires Planetary Application and Source Code

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum announced the acquisition of the iPad music application Planetary, developed by Bloom Studio Inc., along with the underlying source code, which will be freely released to enable developers to build upon and incorporate it into other software design.Released in 2011, Planetary uses the visual metaphor of celestial bodies to represent the relationship between artists (stars), albums (planets) and tracks/songs (moons). Today’s announcement coincides with Neptune at Opposition, when the planet will be at its closest to the Earth for the year, and also at its brightest.

Planetary represents an important branch of interactive data visualization, which was a first in the consumer marketplace. The software forms a relationship between the visualization of the data and the formal properties of the solar system. The brightness and position of stars and planets vary according to frequency of playback. In version 2.0 of the software, additional celestial occurrences such as eclipses and solar flares were added. The application has been downloaded more than 3.5 million times.

Through the acquisition of Planetary’s source code, the museum can reveal the underlying design decisions made through its creation and evolution. Further, anyone can now look at, download and play with the source code that makes the application. The code can be replicated, modified and transported to other hardware platforms and devices in order to preserve the richness and novelty of the software interfaces that were developed. This is especially important in the digital era, as the application would depreciate without the engineering resources to keep it updated.

To learn more about the acquisition, visit