Los Angeles, CA, USA — The colorful Rubik’s Cube made its debut 40 years ago and continues to delight and intrigue puzzlers today. A new twist on the puzzle, “Beyond Rubik’s Cube,” opened at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, with audio-visual design, integration and installation by Electrosonic.
Electrosonic was hired by exhibit fabricator Maltbie, a kubik Company, to take on the project designed by the Science Center’s Experience Services. The 7,000 square-foot exhibit, with 24 areas featuring AV support by Electrosonic, is intended to travel; after 11 months at Liberty Science Center, it will start a seven-year international road trip.
The exhibit features three exploration zones with the themes of Invent, Play and Inspire. They offer tantalizing puzzles, robotic manipulations, music, art and original artifacts, which become creative platforms for the exploration of Professor Ernő Rubik’s cube and the culture it has inspired.
Electrosonic account executive Bryan Abelowitz, who partnered with project manager Thursby Pierce on the job, says “Beyond Rubik’s Cube” posed a number of challenges. “There was a short turnaround time of five months from concept to completion,” he notes. “We coordinated with a number of media producers to create an exhibition that entertains Science Center visitors and can easily travel to new venues worldwide.
“Everything is dual voltage and interconnected via wireless and wired networks. We worked closely with the Science Center on a pretty unique system that enables them to act as host, remotely monitoring the exhibit and updating content when it travels. Twenty Samsung tablets run interactive apps as exhibits, and can be remotely configured for different languages.”
The exhibit is very robust in its construction, too, Abelowitz says, “so it can hold up to wear and tear.” Components will be packed in custom cases for travel.
“Beyond Rubik’s Cube” is dominated by bright colors and strong geometric shapes. “It’s a very vibrant space,” Abelowitz says.
Visitors enter through a passageway where multiple cameras, Microsoft Kinect devices and Panasonic projectors with ultra short-throw lenses generate real time expanding geometric images in response to people walking into the exhibit area. Extron DVI extenders are also utilized in the entry tunnel.
Professor Rubik is quizzed about his famous puzzle in an interview seen on a 55-inch Samsung portrait monitor; a Solve Bar enables visitors to solve the riddle of the cube on ELO 55-inch LCD touchscreens.
A 55-inch Ideum Pro multitouch table offers visitors the chance to tackle designing their own twisty puzzle; a 100-inch Ideum Pano multitouch table is big enough for eight or ten players to collaborate on making tessellation patterns.
The Cube Culture exhibit is outfitted with Brightsign HD media players and multiple monitors located alongside display cases of vintage cube-related ephemera, displaying videos about the history of the Rubik’s Cube and commercials that helped make it a marketing phenomenon. Brightsign HD media players are used elsewhere in “Beyond Rubik’s Cube” as well.
Bright yellow guest stations in the Cube Symphony exhibit, designed by Unified Field, enable visitors to create their own symphonies as they rotate two cube controllers. JBL speakers are mounted in the structure above the guest stations.
Another area features a wall mosaic created from hundreds of Rubik’s Cubes. A large panel on the floor adjacent to the mosaic displays a video about the mosaic artist and his work projected by multiple Christie DHD675-E HD DLP projectors.
Electrosonic has created a mobile control room for “Beyond Rubik’s Cube.” The equipment rack on wheels is located in a corner of the exhibit space and can be moved anywhere. The exhibit uses an AMX system controller and tablet control app.
“Beyond Rubik’s Cube” was developed by Liberty Science Center. Richard Lewis Media group provided the linear media pieces, Blue Telescope and Unified Field provided the interactive elements, and Motion Picture Company provided the entry feature.