Experience Station, version 2.0 - Modular Platform for Interactive Software

Year: 2012


Client: Several

Location: Nueva York


Role: Software Design and Development

Description

Focused on the idea of simplifying the generation and deployment processes for interactive digital content, the team at Zooloop, working for Inwindow Outdoor LLC, spearheaded the design and development of this ambitious project, that wanted to implement cutting edge technologies in image capture and, using a simple but scalable architecture, offer ways to generate interactive content using a flexible structure, both in software and hardware, so it would be possible to implement different kinds of applications without having to overhaul the platform. This flexibility would allow for the promotion of a bigger set of brands, products and services.

Besides a modular software platform, the system had a control module based on Arduino, that made it easy to include external sensors or actuators, and control them from the applications.


Gallery


Challenges

Remote control of the stations and access to its statistics

Since this project involved the existence and execution of several stations simultaneously in different locations, a communication protocol was developed. It allowed to gather execution times and resource consumption statistics, and also allowed the execution of commands to control specific variables at each location. That information was managed by a central control system, which allowed for centralized visualization of metrics and statistics, with support from an external control board. This communication scheme was so effective, it was used on later projects in order to offer clear, precise information in real time about the status of each campaign.

Optimal execution times

One of the biggest challenges was to offer optimal execution times for every application, while at the same time processing signals from interaction devices, measuring performance statistics and responding to specific commands from a remote control system. To get this, it was necessary to divide the load between the CPU and the GPU, to maintain a central system to control memory usage, to monitor resource use statistics to balance the load, and to implement a sandboxed execution environment to optimize the use of graphical resources and memory, and control access to functionalities that required long execution times.

Simple and intuitive interaction system

To offer interaction mechanisms that were natural and intuitive, specific algorithms were designed to offer the users ways of interacting that took into account both their distance to the module and their level of interaction. For long and medium distances, Microsoft Kinect sensors were used, and for short distances multitouch screens were selected as the primary mean of interaction. Strategies to detect inactivity and give control to other users were developed to deal with situations when a user stopped interacting with the module. The central goal for the design was to accommodate all the possible levels of interaction for the great variety of scenarios and projects that would use the Experience Station as their base.


Videos

Videos by Inwindow Outdoor


Technologies

Kinect Sensor.  To make it easy to control the applications in a natural way, through hand movement.

Arduino. To offer a way to receive environmental information through digital and analog sensors, and to send control signals to external devices.


Results

After this project was completed, the Experience station was used to build applications for several interactive campaigns. The technology and communication protocols that were developed made it easy to create interactive contents, reducing coding times in more than 30%.


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