Custom Software & Media System Integration

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

Scope: Custom Software & Media System Consulting

The Sony Wonder Technology Lab is an interactive museum focused on informing visitors about the most recent advances in signal processing, medical imaging, animation and 3D motion capture.  Patrons are given a RFID card when they enter and asked to enter some user information to help personalize their experience.  Throughout the rest of the museum, visitors must use their card to activate the exhibits, which then recognize and greet the individual making use of the preferences entered at the beginning of their experience.

Three Byte Intermedia consulted on the media system design and then was chosen to provide system integration services and all of the show control programming.  

One of the most dramatic effects in the museum features LED lighting to demonstrate signal transmission through a network.  Thousands of individual ColorKinetics fixtures are combined and routed through the space, depicting a pipeline of flowing information.  The virtual network comes to life when visitors can inject their own colored signals into the flow and see them travel alongside other signals to their destination.  While the effect could have been accomplished through recorded or scripted DMX cues, it would have been difficult and unwieldy to ensure that independent visitors at different exhibit kiosks could trigger their signals autonomously and possibly simultaneously while maintaining the aesthetic look of the whole pipeline.  Instead, Three Byte developed a solution to use a custom application developed with the Java-based Processing framework.  Each of the individual LED fixtures was mapped on to a pixel of a computer- generated video signal in the lighting controller.

The Processing application then treated the whole pipeline as a graphical canvas, rendering the desired look for the entire installation in real-time.

Software Challenges

The system features Medialon Manager Pro as the show control backbone, coordinating over 200 exhibit devices in the field including audio and lighting subsystems, motion sensors, and interactive PCs.  The control architecture was designed specifically to manage this complexity in a structured and scalable way by utilizing multiple instances of Medialon Manager to provide redundancy and mitigate complexity.  In addition, Three Byte designed the visitor database and the physical and logical communications infrastructure to support the interactive applications developed by the content producers.

Hardware Challenges

Over 200 Pro-AV devices were installed in this museum.

Tying it together

Deep coordination with construction, exhibit fabricators, media producers, and the client

Tech Stack
  • Show Control (Medialon Manager)
  • Lighting Control (Java / openGL)
  • Database (SQLServer)
  • RFID (FeLica)
  • RFID Card Tester (C++ / WinForms)
  • Communications Middleware (C# DLL) given to the media producers to synchronize their subsystems and coordinate with media system hardware.

Project Team
  • Olaaf
  • Josh
  • Chris
  • Josh
  • Dave
  • Mike
  • Karen