If you go visit the Yahoo Headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, you’ll see a large display of 9 LCD televisions showing various little blocks in the shape of the Yahoo Logo. What you might not expect is that as soon as you walk past this display it automatically begins to follow and interact with you, despite your attempts to avoid it. The project is a joint effort between Yahoo and Tronic.
The sequence opens with an attract mode – the “Yahoo! logo composed of stacked tiles. As you walk by the display begins to interact with you, the tiles slowly following to catch your attention. At this point most people stop and look. Then, even a simple movement, like shifting your shoulders or raising your arms, will cause the tiles to mimic your movements.
Yahoo!’s agency Goodby Silverstein Partners commissioned Tronic, telling them is was important that there be no instructions whatsoever. Rather, people should discover the display’s almost lifelike quality on their own, play with it, and become familiar with its response patterns. “You actually build a sort of relationship with the display,” said Tronic co-founder Vivian Rosenthal. “People told us repeatedly that it was great not to have instructions because it enabled them to explore the interface and discover its characteristics on their own terms.”
Using just natural gestures you can move the blocks around, even sweeping them off the screen into oblivion. It’s fun to watch, and I’m sure it’s entertaining to play with while you wait for that nerve-racking job interview.
Check out the demo video below, and read the full release after the break.
Gigapixel images are great, but navigating them on a regular sized display through a slow web browser isn’t such a great experience. This video shows how we navigate a 13.3 gigapixel image of Tromsø, Norway on a 22 megapixel display wall, using a custom, camera-based multi-touch interface and a custom system for high-performance navigation and visualization of high-resolution datasets.
The Wall Street Journal has an article today on HP showing a new “wall of touch”. This is a standard display wall comprised of six LCDs. Each LCD can be anywhere from 43″ to 46″ and is capable of 1080p resolution. Philip McKinney, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of H-P’s Personal Systems Group, showed the setup to the Journal.
He said “wall of touch” will not be widely available to consumers until 2011, and would likely come with a hefty price tag: anywhere from a couple thousand dollars up to $100,000 for more advanced systems with technologies like HD video conferencing.
I would expect that the cost would be a couple thousand dollars for a single screen, since 42″ LCDs are hovering around one thousand dollars.
In Intel’s booth at CES, you can see two giant double-HD screens showing a realtime visualization of web news stories.
The entire setup is apparently powered by a single i7 processor, and it’s easy to see how you could shrink an application like this down for use on oh, say, a tablet of some sort. Is it an efficient way to sort through information? No, no it is not. But it sure is engaging, and that’s gotta count for something.
Another week, another high resolution display wall. This time at the University of Texas at San Antonio, using a $482,600 grant from the NSF, they will compile twenty-four 30″ monitors into a 15-foot wide by 4.5 foot tall “VisWall”, and drive it with a cluster of Linux workstations.
“(The Vis-Wall) can greatly enhance our ability to understand physical phenomena by building up digital representations — mathematical and computer models — and displaying complex experimental data in a comprehensible fashion,” Feng says. “In my current area of computational cancer research, this new visualization system will be able to display physical and biological systems, from nano- and micro-scale level objects such as nanoparticles and DNA molecules, up to meso- and macro-scale entities like cells, tissues and tumors, all at the same time.”
The VizWall will be used primarily by the new SiViRT center (Simulation, Visualization, and Real-Time Prediction) and miscellaneous teaching. At least that’s what the announcement says, I don’t think I have to tell you that primarily it will be used as a tour stop.
A new installation at the famous racetrack Nurburgring in Nurburg, Germany consists of a LED media facade over a multitouch information wall covering 425 square meters, equivalent to 6,000 displays. It’s only 34-million pixels (surprisingly low for such a physically large display), generated by 15 projectors and supports multitouch from up to 80 simultaneous users.
Read more about the project at their site, and see a demo of the installation after the break.
The University of Illinois at Chicago is moving the classic laboratory visualization system out of the back-rooms and into the mainstream with their new Cyber-commons high-tech classroom.
“In the past, these high-performance environments have been hidden away in research labs and used exclusively by researchers,” said EVL director Jason Leigh. “This cyber-commons opens up the technology to large student populations so that we can better understand the role of high-performance and ubiquitous computing in future classrooms.”
The new classroom has 19-million-pixels of contiguous workspace, and a massive centerpiece of a 20ft by 6ft tiled display wall.
The tiled displays, connected to data sources over high-speed networks, allow students to create electronic posters in real time by providing easy access to remote Gigabyte visualization data objects, just as the Web makes access to remote lower-resolution images today. Launching, juxtaposing, and resizing the content are done using a gyroscopic mouse, or remotely using a laptop.
The display wall is driven by a single computer, but will be replaced by a cluster in the fall for higher-end visualizations of supercomputer simulations.
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