A giant multi-touch glass screen, purpose manufactured by Bedford-based specialists Paradigm AV, has taken centre stage at the University of Wolverhampton’s new six zone Visualisation Centre.
Opened in mid-March, and the brainchild of the University’s Innovation 1st project team, this futuristic technology suite has been repurposed out of existing space in the Business Solutions Centre on the Wolverhampton Science Park.
While AVM Impact won a competitive EU tender to install the six rooms, they chose projection specialist Paradigm AV to design, manufacture and install the glass display — measuring 3545mm x 2232mm — which will allow the local business community to interact with it collaboratively. The facility is designed to provide local SMEs in the West Midlands with a minimum two days (12 hours) of fully funded business assistance.
The Innovation First Project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under Priority 1 – Promoting Innovation and Research & Development. The Centre itself was co-designed by AVM Impact technical designer Paul Marshall and Paul Burrow, project manager, Innovation 1st Business Solutions — who said the idea of a glass screen had been suggested by their sister operation at the Telford Campus. However, they wanted to extend and develop the Telford concept, and so Marshall presented the multi-touch idea to Paradigm.
“Paul initially contacted us regarding the requirement for large rear projection screen with the possibility of interactivity,” said Dave Stephen, Paradigm’s projection &interactive technologies consultant. “I suggested that the best route for this would be to include glass as this would respond better to touch than direct interaction with projection material. It would also give the impression of a large LCD screen and look fantastic.”
Paradigm AV provided a full survey, designed the glass support structure, rear projection screen and frame — and also the mirror rig. “We also surveyed the route into the building for the one piece of glass which was the main obstacle,” said Stephen.
The company approached touch integrator, Displaylite, knowing they provided an infrared overlay suitable for attaching to glass, and the company supplied the multi-touch interactivity using proprietary software, with Paradigm adding the measurements into its design.
The system runs on a Windows 8 environment platform which is compatible with the multi-touch sensors. This presentation room, as with the entire visualisation environment, operates under AMX master control.
With the optical quality glass surface facing the viewer, the Paradigm solution helps the client achieve full compliance in all four viewing categories of the new ANSI Standard Projected Image System Contrast Ratio.
In this application, the rear projection display is optimised via the use of a Paradigm Easy-Erect twin mirror rig. This cradles a Panasonic DZ770 single chip DLP projector, fitted with ET-DLE80 power zoom lens, using precision geometry to achieve the full impact. The projector was considered the best solution for maximising image quality based on ambient lighting conditions, screen material and budget.
“It is a fantastic feature,” said Paul Burrow. “This screen is our wow piece and something that small businesses will readily identify with. We wanted multi-touch to get people involved in using the technology and to make it fun in a business application.”
In addition to the Paradigm glass screen in the main presentation room, AVM Impact also fitted out the other five rooms. These include a boardroom, with two 3D displays (one interactive) along with AMX new generation widescreen panoramic touch panel (and connectivity box), a Polycom videoconferencing room, a further meeting room with sliding panel mechanism — enabling the screen to disappear into the wall when not in use — and a hi-tech reception area.