By Martin Palicki and Judith Rubin
After a cancellation in 2020 and a delayed event in 2021 (both due to the pandemic) InfoComm returned to Las Vegas June 8-10, bringing together AV professionals from around the world to learn about the latest practices, trends and products in the industry. InfoComm covers a wide range of market verticals, everything from corporate conference rooms to emergency command centers.
InPark, naturally, is most interested in the technology serving the themed experience market. Thanks to recent developments in the area, Las Vegas is actually at the forefront of the next generation of immersive experiences. With attractions like Area15, Illuminarium, Meow Wolf and FlyOver Las Vegas opening in the last few years, immersive entertainment seems like a good bet.
Many InfoComm exhibitors realize this and have dedicated staff focused exclusively on this market. We visited with several of these vendors to find out what new technology they are bringing to market.
Matt Barton and Bryan Hinckley were in the 7thSense booth and out on the show floor. Bryan recently started as 7thSense’s Managing Director. Bryan is the latest in a string of news from 7thSense, which has expanded beyond media servers to include show control with the Medialon product. According to Barton, more product news is expected soon.
AV Stumpfl / Pixera
Global Marketing Advisor Han Stucken was excited to show off the new Pixera Four. As mentioned in our ISE coverage, the new media server has expanded graphics card capabilities and plays well with the Unreal real-time gaming generator. Additionally, the Pixera GUI has been updated to include a new “control” tab, allowing the media server to also function as a show control unit.
“It’s not for content creation,” said Stucken, “but it is an effective compositing tool.”
Fresh from exhibiting at ISE, Barco showed their suite of projectors illuminating Carbon Black screens. Sourced externally, the Carbon Black material drinks up ambient light while reflecting back laser light, allowing for darker blacks and better visibility in brighter spaces.
Additionally, Barco is offering the Insights remote monitoring system for its UDM and UDX lines of projectors. Rather than using a LAN to connect remotely, each projector is outfitted with a SIM card and cellular connection, enabling direct remote access. The system is reportedly more secure and allows customers to access basic maintenance and operating information about a projector. More detailed historical reporting is also available at an additional cost. Existing projectors can also be retrofitted with Insights.
Christie’s line of modular LED panels, MicroTiles, is growing…or is it shrinking? Initially introduced as a 1.25mm model, new versions will soon be available at the 1.0mm and .75mm sizes. The smaller the mm number, the closer together the LEDs sit and the closer a viewer can get to the screen.
Christie also showcased their Mystique Lite program, a free download available on their website that allows for basic alignment and blending for all their single-chip projectors. Users will need an off-the-shelf web camera to make the Mystique Lite functional. It can handle up to three projectors illuminating a flat surface. More complex set ups, such as curved or dimensional surfaces, will still require the standard Mystique software.
With an eye on the visitor attractions market, Digital Projection has recently started delivering its Satellite modular laser projectors. The system separates the projector head from the laser light source, connected by a fiber optic cable that can be 3-100m long. Hilight, the smallest projector, weighs 44lbs and fits in a 13-inch square box. Two 10,000 lumen laser light sources can be stacked to provide 20k lumens. Titan offers a mid-range version, while the 100 lb Insight model can provide up to 40k lumens at native 4k resolution. As long as ambient temperatures are reasonable, no external cooling system is required, making Satellite ideal for dark ride installations where projector space is often at a premium.
Immersive audio company Holoplot offered attendees a demo of their X1 Matrix Array speaker system at a warehouse near the Las Vegas strip. The system is already installed at Illuminarium Atlanta and Las Vegas, with projects in Chicago and Dallas in the works. Holoplot’s speakers will also be in the new MSG Sphere when it opens next year in Las Vegas. A new mosque in Egypt will also utilize the X1 as its sound system soon.
The demonstration allowed visitors to hear one array send sound to different parts of the room, targeting spots with precision. In one demo, visitors heard different sounds from their neighbors only 3-4 feet away.
The Las Vegas Illuminarium played host to a special event for Panasonic Connect during InfoComm. The SPACE show immersed guests in imagery from around the galaxy, our moon, and from space shuttle launch missions. Panasonic PT-RQ50KU projectors help create the experience, which also includes haptic technology in the floor and targeted audio (see Holoplot, above).
The event represents Panasonic’s commitment to the themed entertainment vertical, evident in their long-term official partnership with Disney Parks & Entertainment, their successful Panasonic Hollywood Labs division, and with the recent hiring of long-time industry professional Larry Howard.
Smart Monkeys is preparing to launch version 2.1 of the popular ISAAC platform. Recent partnerships with Delta Controls, Pharos Lighting and Pixilab have increased ISAAC’s impressive list of compatible technologies. The enhancements allow users to aggregate, analyze and monitor even more data, such as ambient temperature and humidity levels surrounding sensitive equipment.
Museums are also using ISAAC to remotely push content directly from the platform to iPads located in displays. There’s no need for any computer or wiring other than the tablet itself.
Smart Monkeys Founder Stephan Villet also highlighted the partnership with Pixera’s media server and controller, which is fully compatible with ISAAC and takes advantage of all the platform’s features. “We are excited to announce more key ISAAC integrations like these in the near future,” said Villet.
A new rigid aluminum screen is now available from Strong MDI. The screens can be bracket-mounted or top-mounted and secured with magnets. Multiple screens can be combined to create a larger projection area. The aluminum coating makes the screen ideal for use in conference and museum settings and is well-suited for short-throw projectors.
Trade show floor:
Technology in Immersive Entertainment session:
Panasonic party at Illuminarium Las Vegas
HOLOPLOT uses beam forming and wave field synthesis technology to create a 3D sound environment. We experienced a demo during AVIXA’s InfoComm Show 2022, where attendees walked around a warehouse listening to the different audio zones created by the small HOLOPLOT matrix array. The company’s product is featured at Illuminarium Experiences.