Breaking the Silence Study Table

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ Breaking the Silence gallery is a quiet respectful space where visitors can learn about many mass atrocities — some well–known, others previously hidden. The gallery helps visitors to understand that whenever human rights violations occur, we have a role to play by breaking the silence about them, and the very act of learning about and discussing these violations helps to break the silence.
 
The Study Table presents a timeline and world map with an animated interface leading to graphics, text and photos that relate to 16 large–scale human atrocity events committed around the world. This massive 27’ (8.2m) long multi–touch table offers the opportunity to examine the historical context and to learn about concerted efforts undertaken to cover–up and deny the facts as well as the survivors’ and community’s efforts to break the silence and expose the events. Visitors will see parallels between the atrocities, as the images and historical documents for each event are organized into the same four narrative sections: Build–Up, Violation, Denial and Distortion, Breaking the Silence. When an event is selected, visitors see these four sections and can open any one up to see the photos and documents arrayed out in the workspace for exploration. Multi–touch image manipulation enables a free exploration of documents approximating a desk containing actual historical archives.
 
The table has 24 stations, so large groups of people can work together and easily discuss the material in a social context. An instructor’s “facilitated mode” is enabled through optical recognition of a specific patterned card placed on any of the stations. In that mode, the instructor’s station is mirrored on all the stations (touch is ignored on all but the instructor’s station).
 
All the exhibit content is served from the museum’s ECMS, so new events can easily be added, and eventually will be. Custom map rendering software was created for the exhibit, so new events just need to specify what region of the world the new events occurred in, and maps will be automatically rendered as needed.
 
Special attention was given to universal accessibility. There are two Universal Access Keypads that enable vision–impaired individuals to explore all the content with a bilingual text–to–speech (TTS) interface with simultaneous visual highlighting of the workspace, similar to a screen reader for a web browser.

Lights of Inclusion Floor Game

In the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ Canadian Journeys gallery, the Lights of Inclusion Floor Game provides a playful interpretation of the idea that our actions affect others and that we have to work together as a community to improve human rights. The game is a 21’ (6.4m) white circular interactive floor projection that rewards people coming together to form groups. When people walk through the circular area, spotlight-like colorful orbs and trails follow them around. When people come close to each other, their orbs merge and their outlines begin to animate energetically. As the group size increases, the energy of the surrounding color field also increases and becomes more irregular. With five or more people, the group becomes big enough to transition to a new “oneness” state where each person’s orb turns into a solar corona. In the “oneness” state, the group’s color fills up the whole space with a field of textured light. The wordless interaction provides an alternative way to explore group collaboration and works as a counterpoint to the surrounding exhibits in the Canadian Journeys gallery’s 18 alcoves filled with rich historical content. Families with small children as well as adults can access this piece or sit around and rest in the surrounding circular benches while watching others enjoy and explore. 

Hong Kong Jockey Club

In partnership with international digital agency Possible Worldwide, Tactable developed cutting-edge interactive gaming tables for the The Hong Kong Jockey Club, one of the globe’s most prestigious horseracing associations. Debuting at the Club’s hip Adrenaline Bar, the IBU tables were designed to appeal to a younger generation of more digitally and socially-oriented patrons.

Developed on Tactable’s multi-touch hardware and software platforms, built with the highest standards of industrial design, and incorporating RFID, e-commerce, video, all through intuitive multi-touch, the tables allow customers to view pre-race videos, explore horse stats and odds and use smart cards to place bets and print receipts – all while interacting and connecting with each other. A seamless, social, fun and truly modern betting experience.

Creatures of the Fiery Pool

Surrounded by the sea in all directions, the ancient Maya viewed their world as inextricably tied to water — the vital medium from which the world emerged, gods arose and ancestors communicated. Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea at the Peabody Essex museum reinterprets Mayan art with this idea in mind, in an exhibit the New York Times call "unforgettably dramatic." The Creatures of the Fiery Pool table was the exhibit's interactive centerpiece.

Presented on a unique elliptical multi-touch surface custom-designed by Tactable, shadowy figures swim within an animated sea, which, when touched, miraculously transform into their mythical counterparts as imagined by ancient Mayan artists. Hand-drawn menus of icons reveal fascinating details about turtles, crocodiles, sting rays, sharks and other animals as they appear in nature, art and the Maya cosmology. Artworks in the gallery are interpreted through video and animation, encouraging visitors to see them in a different light. The entire background surface is touchable by many people as well, creating realistic waves in the simulated water pool. Sunset reflections appear on the waves' surface giving a dynamic visual interpretation of the meaning of the Mayan mythical Fiery Pool.

MFA Artists' Choices Table

The Artists’ Choices multi-touch table allows visitors to create images in the manner of four 20th century painters (Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler and Ralph Coburn). This 64" by 40" surface, situated in the middle of a 20th century gallery in the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s new American Wing, displays six work stations and a shared work portfolio. Seated as if around a coffee table, visitors make compositions alone or with others. They also learn the background of each artist, exploring biographies and key works. Visitors select one of four activities: choosing O’Keeffe allows visitors to scale and crop elements as O’Keeffe did in many of her works; choosing Hopper allows visitors to move elements into and around Hopper’s Room in Brooklyn; choosing Coburn allows visitors to re-arrange replicas of the 35 small canvases that make up Blue White Green; and choosing Sheeler allows visitors to layer and color photographic transparencies as Sheeler did. When complete, the visitor’s creation can animate off the workstation, grow to fill the entire table (a dramatic moment!) and then settle in a shared public portfolio.

Map of the Future - Climate Change Simulation Table

The Map of the Future is an interactive climate change simulation table created by Tactable for a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored traveling museum exhibit. The exhibit focuses on the current and future potential impacts of local and global climate change. Visitors walking up to the interactive table can place one or more physical dials on the map to alter the future level of energy supplies and demands, and see how those changes would impact the world in 2075. Multiple versions of the Map of the Future table will travel around the U.S. to different science museums and centers as part of a larger exhibit about climate change over the next few years. The global energy supply and demands are converted into carbon dioxide emissions, which are fed into a climate simulation model to predict temperature rise in the year 2075. Results are shown in different modalities including numerical, visual, and auditory. The carbon levels are visualized as visual smog clouds on the map, and blinking alerts are used to highlight the potential negative impacts due to temperature rise and energy shortages. “News from the future” videos are periodically played showing what the world may be like as a result of the users' choices.

Sprint Digital Lounge Tables

We worked with Sprint to develop what has been termed the “jewel” of their flagship store in Kansas City — two multi-touch tables that allow customers to sample from the wide array of media on their network. Music hits, videos, screensavers, games, and applications are visualized as a 3D world of glowing orbs that bubble up as people approach the tables and display selected media when touched, in a fluid and social interaction. Using object recognition technology, special discs placed on the tables prompt a variety of applets that are fun representations of Sprint’s offerings, like a fully interactive DJ's turntable or fully functioning web browser. The tables are integrated into the store's show control system, triggering synchronized full-screen videos that play with the other displays in the store.

The Beatles Revolution Lounge Tables

In collaboration with Virtango and Small Design Firm, we created touch and glass sensing technology and consulted on both the physical and the interaction design for seven multi-touch tables for Cirque du Soleil. The concept was to reanimate the imagery from the Beatles and 60's psychedelia in a magical and fun nightclub experience. Clients can draw with their fingers but instead of lines, they may get flowers, rainbows or trains of animated mini-Beatles. Glasses are recognized and tracked to trigger colorful effects projected down to light up the drinks. We also created a custom LED ring recognition system to enable special individuals to activate the 'drawing review' mode of the table and to select drawings for display on central columns in the bar.