The Top 10 Digital Interactive Display Walls
Floor to Ceiling Touch/Movement Triggered Displays of 2017
In a time when screens have become normalized in our daily lives, a floor-to-ceiling display is a way to cut through the clutter and grab someone’s attention, whether it be at a museum, a conference or the lobby of an office building.
Digital interactive display walls use TV monitors or projectors and a motion or touch sensor to create large displays that can respond to a user’s touch and/or movement. Over the last 10 years, these display walls have become more and more popular as the technology that makes them possible is increasingly refined.
Since the rise in popularity of these display walls, several companies have begun offering pre-packaged interactive display experiences. Companies like Lumo Play and Promethean make prebuilt systems and walls to make creating custom interactive wall experiences more accessible, while other companies like Lü and NYOYN are providing these experiences specifically for schools. Although this approach may be an affordable way to bring an interactive display to life, the most innovative walls are often custom built. Below is my list of the top 10 interactive display walls built to date, followed by honorable mentions.
This wall was built in 2016 by Google Creative Lab for its NYC office lobby using 5,880 light-up arcade buttons and AnyPixel.js, an open-source software and hardware library.
Built by ESI Design in 2016 for the wall of the Terrell Place building lobby in Washington D.C., this wall responds to the movement of nearby people. The seamless video, 13 feet tall and 80 feet wide, is powered by a custom array of nearly 5 million LEDs behind an acrylic diffusion layer. The motion response is made possible by 15 ceiling-mounted sensors with infrared cameras and a software program that runs on OpenCV.
Screen-printed illustrations spring to life when touched, uncovering a host of playful animations, data-feeds and sounds that highlight various projects. This wall was made by the design studio Dalziel & Pow for the 2015 Retail Design Expo using conductive ink for touch input and projection-mapping software to layer over animations, sound, and interactions.
This 8-foot by 20-foot wall installed at the top of the Seattle Space Needle serves as an interactive guestbook encouraging visitors to leave their mark and visualize the distance and significance of the journey they took to get there. Visitors can explore history through a photographic installation that allows them to view and filter memorabilia, early tower design and construction, sunsets and more. Guests are also encouraged to contribute their own memories to the wall by uploading photos through the Space Needle’s website. The installation was made by Belle & Wissell in 2014.
Users swipe, scroll and sift through the Google Play Music application on a large scale. Supported by the power of Google’s knowledge graph, the Connections Wall allows users to see interesting and unexpected connections between the artists and content they love. There are four interactive LCD touch screens connected by LED paneling that each provide a window into the Google Play Music application. This wall was made through a partnership with Obscura Digital and Google Creative Labs for Google I/O 2016.
This piece of “distraction” artwork at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London creates a calming, yet engaging route that culminates in a patient’s arrival at the anesthetic room. Patients see their journey as a nature trail, in which the hospital walls become the natural canvas and digital lookout points reveal various forest creatures. The installation was made in 2012 by Jason Bruges Studio.
This is an art installation that depicts flowers of Tokyo blooming in an infinitely expanding space. The work is based on a computer program that continuously generates the work in real time. Within the artwork, the flowers are first born, then they grow, bud and bloom; before long, they scatter, wither and fade away. If the artwork is touched, the flowers dance in unison. This piece was made by the artist collective teamLab for Gucci’s flagship store in Tokyo in 2014, but is currently on display in Houston’s Moody Center for the Arts.
Made in 2014 by Obscura Digital, this wall at the College Football Hall of Fame explores “Why We Love College Football.” Visitors are invited to explore the tens of thousands of image, video and sound assets displayed in a 53-foot-long touch wall made from 39 continuous screens. When visitors walk into the space, they receive a lanyard with an RFID reader which can be touched to the wall in order to display and explore assets related to their home teams.
Prospective students walking through the University of Dayton admissions office are greeted with a unique motion-triggered experience. Walking near the wall causes a field of cubes to turn and rotate, “opening up” the wall to reveal fragments of experiences at the University of Dayton. Movement is captured using 4 Kinect cameras and the projection of the 36-foot-long screen is made possible by 3 overlapping projectors. This was made by Flightphase in 2012, and they have a tremendously detailed description of their process and how this was made possible here, as well as another incredible interactive display they made for University of Dayton here.
The Collection Wall is a 40-foot-long display that features more than 4,000 artworks from the museum’s permanent collection. The wall randomly creates thematic groupings to serve as an orientation for museum visitors. The multitouch display allows for up to 20 personal interfaces, enabling visitors to “collect” artwork that they like and create their own custom tour when paired with a mobile app. The Cleveland Art Museum unveiled the Collection Wall in 2012 and has since unveiled a series of other interactive installations collectively known as ArtLens Studio.
While custom commercial display walls received the majority of the attention in this top 10 list, there are many other types of walls, including those you can purchase and those that were created as art installations, which we will explore below.