In April, the $18B, 200,000-person, 45-year-old design, manufacturing and supply chain company Jabil Circuit, Inc., successfully introduced itself into global discussions about modern product development and manufacturing processes. With the successful grand opening of Blue Sky Center, Jabil's new 100,000-square-foot design and demo facility in San Jose, Calif., the company's abilities to help big brands and startups accelerate innovation are growing – and leading in many exciting new directions.
One of the innovative technology demonstrations from the Blue Sky Center's grand opening which remains on permanent display was developed by Radius, Jabil's global innovation and product development firm, in collaboration with conceptual design studio Leviathan. Called "The Connected City," the goal for this fascinating interactive diorama was to help visitors – including product developers – visualize and understand how the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact the connected cities of tomorrow.
"Our early working concept was an Augmented Reality city planner that would demonstrate the interconnected aspects of a future city, with a focus on health care, and how it can be better connected through the Internet of Things," began Leviathan's executive creative director Jason White. "We incorporated projection mapping into the installation concept to increase visitor engagement and create dimensional effects that traditional flat-screen media could never achieve. This, combined with a custom, small-scale city of 3D printed buildings and milled topography, created a new sort of architectural, physical diorama... resulting in a very unique visualization tool."
Continuing, White summarized, "There's something timelessly charming about familiar things like cities re-interpreted as small scale models – in this case, a mini-city. Add 3D printing, projection mapping, and interactive content, and we feel we created a very engaging visitor experience."
Alongside Radius design leaders Jim Caruso, Chris Wlezien and Barbara Ballard, Leviathan's team included executive producer Chad Hutson, principal scientist Matt Daly, creative director Kyle Shoup, producer Gina Giambalvo, and scores of designers, programmers, engineers and artists. "A primary challenge was interpreting somewhat complicated subject matter into a simple design language that communicates clearly and immediately," explained Shoup. "In addition to the major characters of the story, we had fun developing some of the more whimsical depth-defying effects that you might expect from a projection installation, and using them to create exciting transitional moments."
Leviathan's explanatory segments were animated to be projection-mapped onto the custom-made 3D diorama. Optical effects such as code-generated traffic patterns, day-to-night transitions and transformative city interstitials add more dramatic flair to the storytelling.
Since the installation was envisioned as something that visitors can freely explore from all angles, facilitating that was a particular focus. For example, much of the animated content had to be coordinated to play simultaneously across the model while still communicating effectively with viewers. This thoughtful orchestration was organized by the designers through simulations in Touch Designer and an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
With design complete, base fabrication was handled by Lexington Design + Fabrication, while Five Star Plastics printed the hero buildings in 3D and Columbian Model + Exhibit Works fabricated the topographic model.
"At Leviathan, we've had the good fortune of designing some very stimulating physical installations for entertainers," said Hutson. "Translating this type of experience for brands has become a hallmark for us. As very forward-thinking companies, Jabil and Radius are perfect creative partners for us to create projects like this, demonstrating what the future has in store."
"The Connected City" is documented in a new case study video from Leviathan, featuring an original score and sound design from Waveplant Studios: https://vimeo.com/130447472. Additional project details, development artworks and project credits appear on Leviathan's website at http://lvthn.com.