Polar

interactive augmented table

First iteration of an interactive content presenter designed for the young and tech savvy audience of Hellospace Brussels.


research


When we were approached by bump. & Trendwolves to design and build an interactive surface for the HelloSpace in Brussels, we were greeted by a massive, circular 3.2 meter table …
This cleverly designed table was going to be the centrepiece of the venue and would become an anchor point for the programme and other activities in the space. Therefore, during the short life of the pop-up venue it was essential that the surface was available 24/7 for 3 months straight.

During our initial research into this project we discovered that sufficiently covering the entire surface with a high resolution image was going to be quite a challenge.
With the help of CAD simulations a setup with 4 Full HD projectors was simulated and positioned in a virtual environment. Sourcing the exact right projectors proved challenging as they had to fulfil all our requirements (full HD, short throw ratio, sufficient lumen for daytime operation while dimensions) and still fit within the budget.

For the tabletop interaction it was clear we could not use traditional input methods and UI conventions, as the table is not a computerscreen. Likewise, the depth and amount of content would be different than for example on a kiosk touchscreen. In this environment the main use case instead would be brief explorations of basic content on the programme in the venue and the different product features of Hello Bank.

To interact with this type of content on such a huge surface we chose to work with a Leap Motion. It’s ideal for casually browsing through a small set of predefined views. Moreover, waving your hands in thin air translate to movement to the UI evokes a certain magical feeling to every visitor.


design


The initial concept by bump. with its radial subdivisions dictated the basic principles of the interface: the main concept behind the Polar UI driving this augmented table is the radially oriented grid and the division into different quadrants, each with a cluster of different content.

polar design

Furthermore, mechanisms like 360º feedback animations were included to create a point in the busy environment of the venue. Giving the right queues was an important part of the user experience design. We did this by giving real time feedback on the fingertip position and implementing small but valuable iconography.


create

Only when the magnificent centrepiece table itself was built and installed on location by bump., we could start setting up the projections. Aligning the projectors perfectly perpendicular at exactly the right height above the centre of the table was of prime importance. Therefore, a completely adjustable projector frame and mounting solution were designed.

After initial setup, built-in adjustable masks for fine tuning projection surface and seams allowed us to create one seamless projection, perfectly mapped on the edges of the table.
Finally, we made sure the entire installation was remote accessible for easy troubleshooting and software updates.


Polar Hardware
Four Full HD projectors cover the entire table.

Wrap-up

As is apparent in the project video, the visual result was stunning and the UI really augments the physical design of the table. This effect was even greater at night when the table was visible in the closed shop.

The projections made a lot of passers-by stop in their tracks and peek in the Hello Space over the course of the holidays season.

For beyond.io, this project perfectly shows the level of detail and refinement that we aim to deliver in interactive installations. We are excited to be working on a version 2.0 in the upcoming Hello Bank phygital labs. Stay tuned!

Project Polar
Year 2014
Client Hellobank / Trendwolves

General concept design & realization

bump.

Interactive concept design & realization

beyond.io
Coding & animations Lab101