Category Archives: Programming

Jellies Swarm Dome Video Server :: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Photo of Jellies Swarm Dome

With a half sphere dome spanning 8 feet in diameter, the total surface area when corrected for curvature is the equivalent to a 170 inch display. And with the quality standards the designers at the Aquarium have always prided themselves on, with a display of that size, a more realistic experience that comes from pixel density was absolutely important. They selected a projector with a native resolution that exceeded 2K standards of 2560×1600, and it was up to me to find a flawless playback solution that not only could handle they data rate of an uncompressed video at that resolution, but also could sync to a secondary video stream with bi-lingual captions of the narrated 3D animation.

I looked into how to best push that much video data and settled on a utilizing a custom presenter provided by Window’s Enhanced Video Renderer, and built the computer with a second video card to handle the status reporting. The final result is flawless playback that is without stuttering or image tearing.

Press Kit & Media Management System :: Dolby Labs

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Public facing site

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Password protected dashboard

At its core, Dolby Laboratories is an intellectual property and licensing company. And in the rapidly changing marketplace of media technology, it’s important to be able to quickly and efficiently publish their market place victories to media outlets. With that need in mind, we created a custom media manage system that not only stores and encodes their media assets, but provides them an easy method to create, publish and maintain digital press kits that can be used by the media to help them spread Dolby news.

In addition to creating this system, we remain on to not only maintain it, but to provide round the clock support for Dolby and their partners to not only make sure the technology works, but to insure that the underlining vision of the system is successful.

While I handled the MySQL, AS3, dashboard design, some of the PHP and all of the project management, the graphic design of the front page and the development of the front page was done by vendors of mine.

Tyson CDI Tool :: Joe Khirallah

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With modern day computing power, for many, data is king. But organizing massive amounts of data to efficiently learn from it is a modern day challenge. For Tyson, the shear amount of data they collect quarterly is massively daunting, and being a skilled analyst doesn’t automatically make you gifted with database management. This is where I came in.

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I created a custom front end interface to a complex MySQL database that allows a team at Tyson to easily not only track existing trends but to discover new ones. By listening to our client, we were able to rapidly build a tool that Tyson relies on for reporting, sales and making strategic decisions. In addition I built in many fail safes to quickly address any data integrity issues that could arise while inputting new quarterly data.

Purdue Benefits Video :: Purdue University

Screenshot from the video

This is another project made from my XML driven synchronized content engine that I call Hybrid Video. Making videos that have a large amount of repetitive graphic elements like bullet boxes can be produced much faster using this engine and by keeping the video layered like this allows for a lot of slick dynamic content that can be added. Plus the “look” of the graphics comes from a separate file much like CSS, so the video can be completely re-skinned quickly.

And if you’d like to learn more about our Hybrid Video technology, click here.

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.