When IDEO presented the original concept for a 21-foot long touch table covered with fine Italian marble, needless to say, we were intrigued. We were excited at the possibility of working with such great partners, including not just IDEO but also Gensler and Second Story. Everything about this table was new and challenging: the enormous scale, the controllable LED lighting, the exquisite and temperamental stone material. This project pushed our technical and design/build capabilities to new levels.
The destination for this one-of-a-kind touch table was a corporate experience center. Known as the “community table”, this installation is a centerpiece of the space, allowing both visitors and staff to interact with compelling content. Beyond the technical aspects of reliability and performance, it was important that the design and build of the community table revealed impeccable craftsmanship and quality. The touch table also needed to complement the design of the overall space. Ideum worked closely with the architectural firm Gensler and IDEO to ensure that the table did just that.
The table has three Ideum 86” Inline displays which allow up to 20 simultaneous users. (This is the same screen that we use on our standard Colossus touch tables.) Each display has an LG commercial UHD monitor rated for 24/7 operation and Zytronic touch technology. Because of its size, the table was produced in three sections that fit together to present a seamless, massive whole. The internal frame structure was cut out in Ideum’s fabrication studio on our CNC. The “tabbed” frame was slotted together and then reinforced with fiberglass to help handle the enormous weight of the marble that would form the outside of the table. The final marble-clad table weighed in at an impressive 5,500lbs—nearly three tons!
When the three sections are connected together, the interior of the table effectively becomes a crawl space allowing access to the embedded technology. Along with the three 86” touch displays, Crestron extenders are used to carry signals from the table to the wiring closet. In addition, an array of LED lights and motion sensors surround the table just above the “kick.” We designed and built an array of 88 networked motion sensors that control nearly 1,000 LED lights networked through the table’s interior, and the lights change color as visitors approach.
The motion sensors and lighting array also trigger changes to the software program. Ideum worked closely with Second Story, who designed the software for the touch table. We developed an API and diagnostic tools for the sensor array, allowing it to be more easily integrated into the final software experience. Having the table’s lights and displays recognize visitors as they approach personalizes the experience and sets the tone for the interaction to come.
All told, this project presented a wide array of challenges—but it also provided a unique opportunity to work with very talented folks from some of the world’s top design and architectural firms. Every individual and organization on the team brought a unique perspective and a breadth of expertise that improved the final installation. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them to create a truly memorable experience.