Category Archives: Musuem & Aquarium

MBARI: Mission to the Deep :: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Photo of the installation

The sister organization to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, or MBARI. And when that connection was to be showcased in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we stepped up to help in numerous ways. From programming the 3 video games visitors play that demonstrate various research MBARI projects to providing our own uncompressed HD video player software (UnPeg) and hardware for a 3 channel video wall and tied all of it together so the whole system together so it all was synchronized with the Aquarium’s show controller. The permanent exhibit has been open since 2007 and has only required one service visit from us (which had a response time of under 12 hours).

Zero Gravity Photo Stage :: Chabot Space and Science Center

Photo of the photo stage

For an exhibit on the International Space Station, Chabot had a bold challenge to solve; providing a way for visitors to take a photo of themselves in zero gravity. With a budget that excluded commissioning a NASA level contraption to accomplish this goal, Chabot decided to simplify the challenge to taking a photo of someone at the height of a jump into the air. From there, we set off to solve how best to do it. Our solution was to utilize a commercial grade floor mat, like the ones used for automatic doors at grocery stores. With that, our solution recorded all the frames between the time someone leaves to mat to when they land back on it. From there the three images that are at their highest point (when they are neutral to the pull of gravity) are presented for them to select and email to themselves and friends. And for Chabot, they get monthly update for their mailing list of visitors that opted into receiving their newsletter.
images of people jumping.

Sample Photos Taken

The final piece was hugely successful and is still one of the most popular installations at Chabot with an average of 60,000 photos taken annually.

UnPeg® Custom Interactive Video Player

screenshot of unpeg

UnPeg® is a Windows based DirectShow player I made for providing videos for interactive exhibits. It’s supports either fullscreen playback or output via HDSDI. In addition, it provides 3 different methods to trigger videos playback (keyboard, MIDI and serial). It also supports syncing with other devices and other UnPegs® regardless of frame rate. It also provides seemless looping.

It’s been installed in many exhibits for as long as 5 years and has been maintenance free and easy to startup.