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May 11, 2013

Touchscreen conference wall with 160 acres of virtual space

The global design director for office-furniture maker Haworth, in partnership with interactive display company Obscura Digital, has created a touchscreen that covers a conference-room wall. Bluescape displays a unified image across 15 linked 55-inch flat-screen monitors, each equipped with 32 specialized sensors to read users’ hand movements. Unlike whiteboards or flip charts, it won’t require much erasing or page turning: When zoomed out as far as possible, the digital board’s virtual space totals 160 acres.

His wall-size touchscreen can be manipulated with the same finger-sliding techniques used to operate smartphones and tablets, as well as by a few extra tricks to manage its size. Tapping the screen opens a menu to add a digital sticky note or insert a document or photo. Sliding two fingers rotates the display’s view 90 degrees, and three fingers moves it diagonally. A project timeline records changes to the wall. “The scale of this technology is just mind-blowing, that you can have such a large canvas to work with and so many people interacting with it,” says Carnegie Mellon University entrepreneurship professor Stuart Evans, who’s been testing a Bluescape system for more than a year in his classroom at the school’s satellite campus in Silicon Valley.






Bluescape subsidiary, says nearly 30 potential customers are testing the technology, including a large film company, a hotel chain, some manufacturers, and an architecture firm. (He declined to name them, saying he expects the first contracts to be signed in June.) Bluescape’s most basic setup, comprising a single monitor, will probably cost about $30,000, Poulton says. Larger displays for more users will push the price well into the six-figure range, and a 15-screen setup like Reuschel’s might run $1 million. Poulton says the venture will make most of its money by licensing its software and services.

SOURCE - Businessweek

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