Houston, we have liftoff: Digital signage takes flight for NASA (Video)

June 6, 2011 | by Christopher Hall

Houston, we have liftoff.

Digital signage has landed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Software and interactive solutions company FusionPage Interactive and modular multitouch display developer MultiTouch Ltd. recently announced that the two companies have jointly designed and installed the first multi-user multitouch display exhibit in Space Center Houston at Johnson Space Center.

The multitouch display was deployed in conjunction with NASA's commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle launch on April 1, 1981. The multitouch wall, made up of four 46-inch MultiTouch Cell displays, will be permanently installed in Space Center Houston, the visitor's center for the NASA facility.

The multitouch wall will provide high-resolution photos and videos of the Space Shuttle, which multiple users can manipulate simultaneously. This initial installation is part of the first phase of the exhibit, which will eventually include the full space shuttle, space station and Apollo mission histories, according to the announcement.

"The rich archive of high-resolution material — even analog high-definition video — over the past thirty years provides us with a tremendous resource for an exhibit that delivers, literally, a hands-on interaction with space history," Space Center Houston Exhibit Director Paul Spana said in the announcement. "NASA commands some of the most passionate museum visitors in the world, and we now have an attraction that enables them to interact in a new way."

MultiTouch and FusionPage collaborated over a three-month period to develop the specifications and the system design for the multitouch wall, the companies said.

In the video embedded below, Spana talks about the multitouch exhibit, which he said the visitor's center needed to "freshen up" the center and to "provide a new way of presenting information to our audience," which he estimated to be about 800,000 visitors a year.

"The video wall has had a great impact on our exhibits here at the Space Center," he said.

"NASA helped pioneer high-resolution imaging, as we know it today, and using their archives for such an historic exhibit, for a multitouch experience, is an unprecedented opportunity for us," MultiTouch Americas general manager Timo Korpela said in the announcement.

For FusionPage founders Don and Ron Kerr, the exhibit marks a personal reflection, as the brothers served with NASA in various capacities, and have contributed to various NASA projects in subsequent years.

"We are delighted to be part of this exhibit, which celebrates 30 years of flight for these amazing space vehicles," Ron Kerr, CEO of FusionPage Interactive and a former NASA flight controller said in the announcement. "We were particularly thrilled to have the opportunity to develop this permanent installation. It's a way for us to give back to NASA and Space Center Houston after our many great memories of working here."

FusionPage, which is a MultiTouch reseller, maintains a showroom for MultiTouch products in their facility.

MultiTouch's patented Computer Vision Through Screen technology, which reads at 120 frames per second in bright daylight or dark environments, is complemented by MultiTouch Cornerstone software that translates touch into the programming experience, creating multitouch displays that can read unlimited touch points, including hands, fingers, 2-D Markers and real-life objects.

MultiTouch will demonstrate the NASA installation, using a four-display wall, at this year's InfoComm 2011 in Orlando, Fla., from June 15-17, in booth 4382 at the Orange County Convention Center.

Watch another video of the installation below:

Topics: Customer Experience , Display Technology , Education / Schools , Entertainment Venues , Hardware , Interactive / Touchscreen , Museums , Software

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