College students can be a tough crowd when it comes to video.
For one thing, they tend to have an expectation that video will constantly be available. With that mindset comes a tendency not to be impressed.
That’s what Indiana University was up against when it launched two new schools and a brand new building. The design team responsible for the projects wanted to ensure that each school’s building captured the attention and enthusiasm of students, faculty and visitors, all of whom are closely connected to their technology, according to display manufacturer NanoLumens.
The goals were addressed with the installation of a 24-foot wide X 12-foot high NanoLumens display suspended from the ceiling in Franklin Hall, home to the new Media School, and an array of seven 9-inch wide X 24-foot high NanoLumens display “blades’in the brand new Global and International Studies Building.
More from NanoLumens:
“The display is the first thing you see when you walk into our building, and it’s pretty amazing,” said Jay Kincaid, Director of Facilities & Technology at the Indiana University Media School. “There isn’t a single person who comes into the building that doesn’t say ‘wow!’ People are awestruck by the display hanging in our commons. It’s amazing. They are slack-jawed.”
And that was exactly the point. As a media school, it’s not only important to engage students and visitors with news and information, but also to show that the campus and programs are technologically advanced. With the ability to use the display for presentations, television broadcasts, and even as six distinct screens through a split-screen interface, the school has gained a technology platform on par with professional newsrooms and large public event spaces like stadiums and arenas. In split-screen, students can use the Tunity smartphone app to listen to any of the currently playing broadcasts.
According to Sarah Schuler, President and Principal Architect at VPS Architecture, “The new Media School is housed in one of the most beautiful collegiate gothic buildings on Indiana University’s campus. Originally, it was built in 1907 as the university’s library. The transformation into a modern, technology rich learning environment meant a complete renovation and reorganization of spaces. The Commons is at the heart of the design, located in the middle of the building and all other spaces are organized around it. This space was designed to showcase what the Media School offers while allowing students, faculty and visitors a place to converge and engage. The media wall by NanoLumens energizes the spaces: it is the focal point of the Commons. Since the opening of the Media School, this space is always filled and very lively.”
The design features a 2.5mm pixel pitch, meaning the 4.4 million pixels provide a resolution of 2880 x 1536, more than twice the pixel count of a 1080p display. It refreshes its more than 13 million diodes (three per pixel) at 960 frames per second and is reliant on 240 circuit boards and 1,440 magnets. The excellent build quality is apparent when one considers there are nearly 40 million solder joints in the 297-square-foot display.
All this adds up to an incredible media space, according to Andrew Sellers, principal of Indianapolis-based Sensory Technologies. “This is a place for students to engage with content and with each other,” Sellers said. “It’s a place to watch the ever-popular IU Hoosiers basketball games as a group, a place to remind students that they are at one of the best media schools in the world and to make an impact on visitors who may consider applying to IU.”
As for the seven parallel information displays in the new Global and International Studies Building, staff and visitors are equally enamored, with many passersby snapping photos of the unique installation. Already the school has used the blades to offer recognition of every graduate in a scrolling feed during convocation, and to feature the words “Indiana University” in each of the more than 70 languages the school teaches. It creates an eye-catching arrangement for visitors as each blade displays a different color and features constantly moving visuals. To hear school officials tell it, the displays are impossible to miss.
“We needed technology that blended seamlessly with the architecture of our building and was a custom solution developed exclusively for our needs,” said Chuck Garney, Director of Communications and Marketing at the IU School of Global and International Studies. “After seeing their technology up close, we were sold on NanoLumens. As a connector to part of campus, the idea was to make this a place that people noticed. You don’t walk through and ignore it. We are utilizing NanoLumens digital displays in a way that is artistic and inspiring.”
Inspiring students is what forward-thinking universities aim for every day, and Indiana University is leading the way with innovative media installations using NanoLumens LED visualization technologies.