Recently, company Citroen launched a highly technological markerting campain to promote its new models, including a cutting-edge projector that offered the visitors the interactive experience of composing a holographic 3D puzzle, simply by touching a iPad-based totem.
We had the pleasure to interview Mr. Kris Meeusen, the mind behind this project at Lab 101, a creative place where games, applications, mobile, interactive installations and more come to life.
Kris, please, tell us more about the technology and the inspiration behind this installation.
The biggest part of the application was written in Cinder (http://libcinder.org/) which is a programming framework for creative coding. Cinder uses C++ and openGL which makes it perfect to run high speed application on high resolution.
Only for the iPad I wrote my own framework because I needed some features which where not yet in Cinder. I opensourced that part of the project (available here)
The Citroen store already had a Holocube which is a system for creating a 3D see-through effect. So we thought about a concept which would fit in best the existing Holocube. Separate 3D elements like the triangles and parallelograms give a good sense of depth when placed in the cube. To improve the sense of depth even more, we tried to keep the pieces in motion most of the time.
When nobody is touching the iPad controller, the current 3D shape will transform in to the “Citroen creative coding session” logo. Even when standing still the 3D cloud of triangles and parallelograms is always slowly moving to maximize the 3D effect in the cube.
This installation looks very easy-to-use and to understand for everybody. Nothing complicate to interact with.
People get overwhelmed with opportunities to interact in stores, events and other places.
So, easy and fast interaction is really key in these kind of environments.
The whole process of discovering the picture in the cube relies only on the user turning two axis on the iPad standing in front of the cube.
The way we put the picture in the shape has already been done before by numerous other excellent artists and creators:
We code this technique (anamorphism) because it’s a really interesting way to encode a image in a picture. More anamorphic images: Google search.
Because this does also exist in real life, visitors can make the translation to the digital form really quick.
How would you describe this project to be innovative and cutting edge?
For me the most innovative part was not technical but the way the client (i.e. Citroen) was open to try something new. Big companies have the tendency to go for the easy existing advertising techniques.
In this case we tried to make a nice installation which is made for Citroen but not with the brand all over it.
I think this how advertising should be in the future.
Sponsoring new and innovative media which in the end will reflect well on the brand as well even when the brand name is not written all over it.
What is the mission of your studio, Lab 101?
That’s also the mission of my studio in Antwerp.
Making interactive setups where people can have a bit of fun without overloading them with advertising.
Balancing between advertising and creativity is the big challenge, even more than all the technical challenges which come with these new media setups.
Lab 101: www.lab101.be