NEWS AND UPDATES FROM IDEUM
This is the fifth blog post about our multitouch wall installation. To see the previous ones see: Building a High-Resolution Multitouch Wall Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3 & Part 4. (Update 9/7/12: You might want checkout the Presenter Touch Wall, a 65″ multitouch wall built for public spaces.)
As I have mentioned in previous posts, while we received permission to share the development process we’ve been unable to say just which “major North American aquarium” we have been working with. Now we can share the name and we are proud to say it is the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The 7- foot, round multitouch wall that we’ve been developing will be part of the Open Sea exhibition which is fully open to public on July 2nd. You can learn more about the Open Sea exhibition in Monterey Bay Aquarium Pressroom.
The previous blog posts detail the methods, materials, hardware, software, and other aspects of the development process. So I won’t go to far in depth here, but I wanted to mention a few more details about the visitor experience and the software.
The large size and round form-factor of the multitouch wall should make for an engaging visitor experience. The wall is big enough to accommodate multiple visitors simultaneously. It also support hundreds of simultaneous touch points.
As I mentioned earlier the exhibit will allow aquarium visitors to “touch” phytoplankton and learn more about them.The fact that microscopic plankton are the base of the marine food web and they produce most of the oxygen present in the Earth’s atmosphere makes the exhibit all the more significant. We hope this installation will provide a compelling way for visitors learn about these important tiny organisms.
The exhibit software was created in Unity 3D and the programming and design was done by Lindsay Digital (they also took the photographs that appear below). This is one of the first projects where we concentrated just on hardware.
Here are a few photographs of the installation at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We will share photos and video of the exhibit in full operation after the opening on July 2nd!
Ideum’s Paul Lacey and Chris Steinmetz work on calibrating the multitouch wall. The number “2560″ which appears on the screen is the resolution of the round multitouch wall. It is 2560 x 2560 pixel which is better than HD resolution.
We’ve recently updated our video for the MT55 Pro multitouch table. There is new footage showing table custom colors: red and opal green. We also added some footage showing Tune Grid our multitouch music sequencer application built with Gestureworks.
You can learn more about the table on our MT55 Pro product page.
Tune Grid is a 16-step multitouch audio sequencer built with GestureWorks. It allows multiple users to create harmonic rhythms, or play sequences of notes using multitouch input. We originally conceived of the idea with our friends at the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, after seeing Andre Michelle’s ToneMatrix web application.
Tune Grid now comes standard on every Ideum multitouch table. It’s a fun multi-user sound application that does a great job showing off the integrated Bose audio system found in the MT55 Pro. Below is a video showing Tune Grid in action on the MT55 Pro multitouch table. We’d love to hear your feedback.
The NASA Space Weather Viewer is now available in the Google Android Market. You can download it here. Becoming a Google Developer and posting the app to the market was very simple process.
Back in November, I shared some of the difficulties we encountered developing and publishing the iOS version of the application. (By the way, I still believe, long term Apple will have difficulties with their model, but certainly Android and the iPad alternatives have stumbled quite a bit with the Honeycomb release.) Still, in the end the iOS version has been very successful (see: Over 100K Downloads for NASA Space Weather iPhone App in March).
Below is a video we made showing the NASA Space Weather Viewer running on Samsung Galaxy tablet and Android phone. The video is also embedded in app listing the Android Market. A simple, but smart feature for previewing apps in the market.
We will let you know how the Space Weather app does in the Android Market and if we see anything like the success we’ve had in the iTunes Store.
Tomorrow, I’m participating in a session entitled, Open Source for Museums: The Experiment Continues at the American Association of Museums (AAM) annual conference. This is a follow up to a session to one I was involved in two years ago. I’m representing the Open Exhibits software initiative. Here’s the description for the session:
Join the project leads of Pachyderm, Omeka, CollectionSpace and Open Exhibits for an introduction to open source and a frank discussion of the promises and potential pitfalls of open source software in the museum world. Learn about the origin and forms of the open source software movement and about the history of its application in the museums.
Hope to see some of you tomorrow! Bright and early, it is a 9AM session.
Tomorrow afternoon I’m participating in a session entitled, Saving the Future: Museum Community Response to the Gulf Oil Spill at the American Association of Museums Annual Conference. It is ironic that we are here in Houston, the U.S. headquarters of BP.
In the session, I’m going to be talking about the multitouch Gulf Oil Spill Mashup application that we produced last summer and provided free of charge to museums and aquariums. The application was built with the GestureWorks multitouch SDK and many of the software components in the application available free on the Open Exhibits website.
In case you missed it, here’s a video of the application in action.
I will post my slides here following my presentation. Looking forward to hearing how others in the museum community responded to Gulf Coast oil spill.
Updated May 24, 2010: It was a great session to be part of and I found the other presentations really inspiring. In particular, I really enjoyed the talk by Jerry Enzler, the Executive Director of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Last summer, their institution opened a major exhibit on the Gulf of Mexico. Their large aquarium tanks were deliberately presented with no fish or any marine life. The tanks were covered with decals representing oil from the spill.
It was a great example of a museum (and aquarium) taking risks and making a strong statement about the environmental disaster that occurred in the gulf. The opening of this unique exhibit was a great success and the story appeared in the national news. At the time, there were stories about the exhibit in MSNBC, USA Today, and many other media outlets.
I hope to post more about the session in the future, as all of the presentations were very interesting. For now, here are the slides from my presentation, Gulf Oil Spill Mashup Exhibit (PDF 3.7 MB)
We’ve just completed our first release of the Android version of the NASA Space Weather Media Viewer. Like the version we developed last fall for the Apple iPhone & iPod, the Space Weather Viewer for Android features near-real-time imagery from a wide variety of NASA missions, as well as video interviews with prominent scientists.
The new Android version will be available in the Google Android Market Place and on the Amazon App Store later this month.
f you’d like to get a sneak peak of this new NASA app, you can download the alpha version right here: NASASpaceViewer.apk (4.6 mb) Update: May 31: It’s now live in the Google Market Place: NASA Space Weather Viewer
The NASA Space Weather Viewer is now available in the Google Android Market.
You can download it here.
It requires Android 2.2 or greater and Adobe AIR 2.6. We’ve run it with Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” and it runs great.
The app is optimized for phones or tablets and we’ve tested it on the following devices: HTC EVO, Motorola Xoom, Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, and the Samsung Galaxy Epic. Please let us know what you think. We will be making the source code for this Android app later this summer.
If you’re looking for more information about the Apple iOS version and source code, see our last blog post on that version, “Over 100K Downloads for NASA Space Weather iPhone App in March.”
(Update 9/7/12: You might want checkout the Presenter Touch Wall, a 65″ multitouch wall built for public spaces.)
This will be the last installment of this series on our multitouch wall project here at the Ideum studio. Next month, we’ll be able to show you the exhibit installed. For the last two weeks we’ve been working on blending the two high-resolution images and the infrared illumination and tracking. Also, yesterday we began to pack up the pieces for shipping.
Blending the two high-resolution projectors has taken a bit of time. The two projectors are dVision 35 WQXGA XB LED projectors by Digital Projection. The blending hardware is also from Digital Projection. The combined resolution of our round, 7 foot projected images is 2560 x 2560. Before settling on a hardware solution, we tried a few different blending methods using software. One of the software methods we first explored, used corners of the two projected images to calibrate. Sort of a non-starter when your image is round! The blending hardware we are using is Digital Projection’s Fusion 3D hardware.
In the photograph above you can see one of the calibration tests. Paul Lacey (Senior Multitouch Engineer at Ideum) and Chris Steinmetz (Support Specialist at Ideum) are examining a test blend.
Infrared Illumination and tracking was another major challenge. As we mentioned in our last blog post (See Part 3), we’re using low-powered lasers for illumination. For tracking we are using NUITEQ’s SnowFlake Software. The software will use the four cameras (See Part 2) to track the IR touch points on the wall’s surface. The IR cameras we are using are from Point Grey.
The photograph above shows a calibration test using Snowflake software which works with Point Grey cameras and supports four camera input.
Finally, packing up all of these materials for shipment is a major task in itself. Many of the items are extremely fragile, such as the 7 foot acrylic projection screen. Others, like the large ring are just hard to handle and move.
The round acrylic projection surface needed to be wrapped very carefully for transport.
The 10mm haptic glass is both fragile (when not mounted) and heavy.
In the next post, we’ll show you the installation! Also, we’ll finally be able to share the name of the aquarium that has partnered with us to develop the exhibit. (They gave permission to share the progress, but wanted their name kept private until the exhibition opens.) To see the previous steps in the process check out: Building a High-Resolution Multitouch Wall Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Late last month, we quietly introduced our new MT55 HD Multitouch Table. Today our first production unit shipped with many more headed out this week and next. (US and Canada only for now.) The table is major step forward with a huge 55″ HD LED LCD display in a hardened case which is less than 3 inches thick!
The multitouch table is a fully integrated, hardened system and it includes an integrated HP computer with a three-year warranty. It has single button operation, integrated power and cooling, a UPS back-up system, controllable LED under-lighting, and even a Bose audio system. The table also comes with the GestureWorks multitouch SDK. (You can see the full specifications on our MT55 HD product page.)
Last week, we unveiled the MT55 HD at the Museums and the Web conference in Philadelphia. We are now preparing for the American Association of Museums (AAM) conference and we have designed an ad for the conference program. Here’s a sneak peak of the full-page MT55 HD advertisement:
This week we are working on a polished promotional video that will show off all the features of the MT55 HD. Right now, we have a short video of the MT55 HD in action and a few photographs on our Flickr site (see the MT55 HD Multitouch Table set). Watch for our promotional video, we’ll be posting it very soon.
cross posted from Open Exhibits Blog
Open Exhibits has just passed 4,000 software downloads! If you’re not a programmer, or you haven’t downloaded the code, yet – we thought we’d give you an idea of what you may be missing.
This video demonstrates several of the free multitouch software modules already posted on the Open Exhibits site. These modules are designed to simplify Flash and ActionScript exhibit development, and many are compatible with the Microsoft Kinect (using MT-Kinect). The source code for every module shown in the video can be downloaded today on the Open Exhibits Software page.
We’ll continue to post videos as we release new software. If you have any comments or feedback, we’d love to hear from you.