Thorne: The Frontier Within

Storytelling with biometrics across physical and digital spaces

View the full case study video
‘The Frontier Within’ live at Studio 525 in Manhattan.

The Vision

The Plan

A single codebase powered both the live installation and web experience.
The inner selfie was a take-away for each user

The Tech

  • Hydra framework + 3D engine
  • Aura for the installation renderer (Windows app)
  • GUI toolkit for live editing
  • Our GPU particle engine
  • We created an optimized rendering path for rendering single quad geometries such as GPU particle simulations and post processing, reducing CPU overhead by 50% in these unique scenarios which directly led to more particles on all devices.
  • Aura as a desktop app proved to be key for smooth rendering. No matter how performant code is, the browser could decide to perform a background task at any moment, causing a micro-stutter. While mostly unnoticeable on a small screen, any stutter on an 18 foot screen would be glaringly obvious.
  • The GUI toolkit turned out to be a life saver based on how quickly we could edit the tons of shaders for both particle motion and visuals. Its underlying WebSocket server meant we could live edit from a laptop and see the changes in real time on the big screen.


Live in-browser particle behavior (motion) editing
Each step creating the lung particle system
Iteration of heart particles throughout production

The Installation

The Web

When a user moves their head


Backend Systems + Server Rendering

Server-side render of shareable asset



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