TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
Netflix's 'House of Cards' Puts AMX in the White House
Producers of popular Netflix TV show contacted AMX to ensure complete accuracy in TV depiction of United States White House communications.
 2 of 5
5,000 Cute Animals and Some Tech Stuff Too
Toronto Zoo boosts digital signage and advertising real estate, supports energy conservation with weatherproof displays from SunBriteTV.
 3 of 5
The Scoop on 6 Popular Collaboration Platforms
You need to know the ins and outs of these unified communication, collaboration and huddle room solutions in order to make the best recommendation to your clients.
 4 of 5
Flashback Friday: 11 High-Tech March Madness Arenas of 2014
These NCAA championship arenas are fully equipped with stunning video displays and on-site support from Daktronics.
 5 of 5
11 Award-Winning Digital Signage Projects at DSE
Best and brightest digital signage installations and content creation honored at Digital Signage Expo 2015. Obscura Digital wins Apex Award of the Year.
Innovative Video Walls Redefine Northeastern University Admissions
The iPad-controlled interactive video wall in Northeastern’s new Visitor Center earned Whitlock and consultant Cavanaugh Tocci honorable mention in the 2013 Integration Awards presented by CI and TD.

Article


An interactive rear-projection video wall in Northeastern University's new Visitor Center engages students. Photo courtesy of projectiondesign.
June 21, 2013 By Tom LeBlanc

Prospective college students these days were born post-1995, and have high expectations when it comes to technology. That means the bar has been raised for university admissions offices as they look to impress visiting candidates.

Northeastern University, located in Boston’s busy Back Bay, was unafraid of the challenge when it carved a new Visitor Center out of an old academic building and made its technology solution the very first thing that students see upon touring the campus. 

The rear wall of the Visitor Center’s open-space lobby is comprised of large “glass shingles,” as architecture firm William Rawn Associates calls them, which spring to life thanks to an array of Philips Color Kinetics LED lights that burst strategic color schemes from floor to ceiling. The eyes, however, are drawn to three specific shingles, which have been converted into large-scale interactive display areas.

3 Integrator Takeaways:
1. RP Visuals gets a gold star on this project for custom-creating a slim rack and mount solution that allowed the necessary projectiondesign projectors and hardware to fit in a tight space.
2. When dealing with young end-users, the importance of touch-interaction on video screens can’t be over-estimated.
3. Rear-projection on glass can result in a murky image, says consultant Matthew J. Moore, so the project benefited from doing a mock-up and dealing with diffusion issues early.

3 End User Takeaways:
1. That integrator Whitlock is willing to embed an on-site technician with some of it’s bigger clients, seems to add a lot of value to a managed services contract.
2. Some of the space challenges (and perhaps some of the cost) could have been alleviated if the A/V consultant or integrator had been brought in as early as the architect.
3. Student tour guides demonstrate a high comfort level with operating a sophisticated Crestron automation system via Apple iPads.

Equipment Highlights:
Projectors: projectiondesign
Theater Wall: Christie Digital
Speakers: Fulcrum Acoustic, SoundTube and Tannoy
Automation: Crestron
Racks & Mounts: Middle Atlantic, RP Visuals
Lighting: Philips Color Kinetics

Students can engage with the mutli-touch, rear projection displays, calling up information about the University and campus, enlarging images and selecting short videos. 

Admissions staff, many of whom are students themselves, change and control content via Apple iPads and a Crestron automation system as audio booms down from well-hidden Soundtube ceiling speakers.

Overcoming Design Challenges

The hardest part of coordinating the technology, surprisingly, wasn’t getting the warp and blend of the projectiondesign projectors right, programming via projectiondesign’s ProNet.precision software or even the critical content creation executed by interactive designer Downstream.

The biggest challenge was finding a way to cram all the necessary technology behind the glass shingles, explains Matthew J. Moore, principal consultant for Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, which designed the audio, video and control solution for the Visitor Center and co-located Admissions Office.

Architecture firm William Rawn was pretty far along in the design of the Visitor Center by the time Cavanaugh Tocci was tasked with creating a “high-tech, high-touch space that would really engage” the school’s 70,000 annual visitors, explains Moore. “We had to work within the footprint of the existing building and the architectural design, including the glass,” he says.

The other, more daunting, mission for the consultant was “to make the technology disappear when it was not in use,” he adds. “They saw this as an evolving space, and they wanted the projection glass to blend seamlessly with the architectural glass of the lobby walls.”

So Cavanaugh Tocci essentially devoted three glass shingles to video projection. The design team worked with Stewart Filmscreen who provided custom Aeroglass sized to exact sizes. To blend the technology seamlessly it couldn’t spec in front projection so it designed a rear-projection solution. That wasn’t easy since space behind the glass wall was extremely limited.

The consultant leaned on RP Visuals to design custom mounts and frame for the space-deprived projectors—four projectors for each of the three shingles’ multitouch zones plus two projectors above to provide non-interactive content such as slideshows and live text based feeds atop each zone.

View the 11 photos attached to this entry
             
View photos
About the author

Tom LeBlanc - Editor-in-Chief, CI,
Tom has been covering electronics integration since 2003. Prior to being named editor-in-chief of CI, he was senior writer and managing editor of CE Pro. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.
View all posts by Tom LeBlanc
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources



Recent comments

Thanks for your comment, Kaleo. InfoComm itself is not criticizing its members for not making the $2,000 commitment.…

Posted by D. Craig MacCormack on 2015 03 23 · commented on
'Kudos to InfoComm, Shame on Its Members'.

I agree with Max.  I would rather hire someone who wants to be in our awesome industry.  I don’t…

Posted by Kaleo Lee on 2015 03 23 · commented on
'Kudos to InfoComm, Shame on Its Members'.

Thanks for your comment, Max. The headline is supposed to convey that I think it’s a good thing InfoComm…

Posted by D. Craig MacCormack on 2015 03 20 · commented on
'Kudos to InfoComm, Shame on Its Members'.

The title of this article is misleading.  Infocomm IS its members.  You can’t say shame on…

Posted by Max Kopsho on 2015 03 20 · commented on
'Kudos to InfoComm, Shame on Its Members'.