So in my brief I came up with the idea of being a scientist in the mid west that went out and solved mysteries. To do this he would have a base of operations which would be his laboratory. Using this space the player would bring back objects found in the world and investigate them using the equipment and books in the lab to make progress in the game. The crowning achievement of the Lab is the Mechanical analysis machine, it takes samples, or pictures and uses steam power and electricity to compute the data. Its a fantastical computer really, but in the wild west they still dont have screens! so the machine uses a combination of lenses and optics to display the information to the player in a readable/understandable way. The lens processor can be adjusted to project the readout/images/data on the round projector screen directly under it.
You can find my other environment entry here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/2EBvK