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22/02/2010

Obscura Lights Hard Rock Cafe's Rock Wall

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Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas has developed a new way for visitors to interact with signature rock’n’roll memorabilia collection: a massive 5.5m wide, 1.20m high, super-HD, multi-user, multi-touch, fully interactive video wall.
Just in time for the 2010 NAB expo, Joe Tenczar, Hard Rock Cafe Technology Director, turned to Obscura Digital, the successful San Francisco based company known for creating amazing visual display projects.
Based on their expertise in designing large power walls, Obscura Digital’s development team knew that they needed the latest in graphics technology to create the unique customer experience that the Hard Rock Cafe was looking for. Consequently, they turned to NVIDIA, whose multi-GPU visual computing system supported by PNY Technologies – the NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2200 D2 – was perfect for the job.
The challenges for Obscura were numerous. For instance, the now famous Rock Wall had to provide a simultaneously useable form factor for up to six visitors. It was a huge task to seamlessly blend a single application over the 5,50m wide touch wall at such a high resolution. According to Patrick Connolly, Chief Executive Officer of Obscura Digital, "There were over 1,000 items of memorabilia, each averaging eight mega pixels in size – a staggering amount of data! We had to ensure that the display was highly interactive, fluid and flawless, with absolutely no stutters. With 8GB of onboard memory, the Quadro Plex 2200 D2 allowed us to cache massive amounts of data, making the video wall completely interactive. No other product on the market today could have made the wall work like the Quadro Plex did."
The hardware is driven by Obscura’s proprietary software, Fire Frames, which was developed to take advantage of the Quadro Plex GPUs. "We needed low latency and intense processing power to deliver the real-time vibrant graphics required and the Quadro Plex 2200 D2 delivers exactly that," commented Niklas Lundback, Chief Technology Officer for Obscura Digital.
Obscura also used the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 graphics card by PNY to run the graphics-accelerated tracking capabilities of the Rock Wall. Over one hundred tracking points can be monitored at one time which allows visitors to touch and drag any image, select and open up windows, play videos and zoom in on items of interest. "With an image resolution of up to 16 mega pixels, it’s the next best thing to actually holding the actual item in your hand," commented Mr. Connolly.
Since it was created, the Hard Rock Cafe Rock Wall has received worldwide acclaim. "It was a huge success and everyone is really excited about it. Microsoft picked up on it and a smaller version of the Rock Wall was one of the featured projects that Steve Ballmer demonstrated at the Windows 7 launch," continued Mr. Connolly.
Laurent Chapoulaud, Marketing Manager EMEA at PNY Technologies, concluded: "Obscura is always pushing the boundaries of visualisation technology. They are one of the very first companies to take advantage of the multi-GPU capabilities of the Quadro Plex 2200 D2, and the resulting Rock Wall is an amazing visualisation experience unlike any other."
Visit: www.obscuradigital.com/work/detail/rock-wall to access a clip of the wall in use.
(BMcN/BMcC)
VMI.TV Ltd

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