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Chicago Maps Exhibit Raises the Bar for Interactive Signage

Jun 24, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

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The interactive application was especially challenging because multiple visitors would need to simultaneously use multiple displays connected in a tiled setup with touch capabilities integrated into the screens. Navteq tapped Accenture to provide the interactive touchscreen application using NEC displays. Accenture decided to use a 3x2 video wall configuration with six of NEC’s 46in. MultiSync LCD4620 displays, which are fed by three coordinated PCs. Each display acts as a navigational tool, allowing visitors to simultaneously explore different areas of the world. Using a camera-based system with infrared red lights, visitors are able to navigate maps with their finger on the lower screens. The corresponding screens above provide a closer view, whether a user is spanning the entire globe or zooming in to street levels.

“Essentially, a camera in each upper corner of the top screens is aimed along the surface of the screens [and] these two cameras can see fingers as they touch the screen and use triangulation to find the actual position,” says Kelly Dempski, director of HCI research for Accenture Technology Labs.

The infrared lights make the finger more apparent without adding extra visible light to the installation. Because the solution scales to very large screens, it doesn’t require any sort of overlay on the displays themselves. The result lets multiple users interact with the way-finding content on the six NEC displays.

“The solution allowed the visitors to enjoy the exhibition by investigating the maps, pointing things out to each other and generally exploring more naturally and fluidly than they could on a single user kiosk,” Dempski says.

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