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Projectors Add Excitement to Exhibits

When curators wanted to add some pizzazz to a plate tectonics exhibit at a San Francisco museum, they deployed projectiondesign’s FL32 DLP projectors to give visitors a panoramic visualization illustrating the destructive force of California’s earthquakes.

When curators wanted to add some pizzazz to a plate tectonics exhibit at a San Francisco museum, they deployed projectiondesign’s FL32 DLP projectors to give visitors a panoramic visualization illustrating the destructive force of California’s earthquakes.

The California Academy of Sciences uses FL32 DLP projectors to drive the “Earthquake” exhibit display. The devices project images on a 20-footwide immersive dome, which shows a panoramic film linking the concepts of geological time and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. After the film, the earthquake simulator gives visitors a taste of a high-magnitude jolt.

The projectors are powered by “ReaLED” technology that promises 100,000 hours of service life at a low cost and no deterioration over time, said Maria Dahl Aagaard, projectiondesign’s product marketing manager. The projectors are seamlessly edge-blended onto a domed projection surface.

“We knew just where to go to find the latest in projection technology,” says Blair Parkin, managing director at visual acuity for the exhibit. “Projectiondesign has made massive strides in furthering energy-efficient display technology; hence it was an easy decision to select the FL32 projectors.”

The Norway company’s high-performance projectors are also used in the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, as well as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas exhibit at the City University of Hong Kong.


Panasonic PT-DZ21K projector Panasonic, the international electronics manufacturer, produces a range of museum-savvy projectors and video displays that add zip to exhibitions. The PT-DZ21K projector, which made its debut at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has advanced features that include lens memory and geometric adjustment that seamlessly integrate the projector in every situation, from front- and rear-projection to projection mapping, according to Dan Miller, the company’s DLP projector specialist.

The PT-DZ21K is powered by Panasonic’s quad-lamp system, with its new high-power UHM lamps, making the body compact but still providing 20,000 lumens, Miller said.

For tight spaces, Panasonic offers the PT-DZ870U series of projectors, equipped with the DLE030 ultra short-throw lens. This series uses a bright single-chip DLP projector, offering 8,500 lumens, WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution and a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. It also includes the company’s proprietary Dynamic RGB Booster, which optimizes lamp intensity of individual red, green and blue colors. The combo is able to project a 100-inch image in less than three feet of throw distance.

The company also has an eye-catching line of video display products. At 103 inches, Panasonic’s flagship plasma display, the TH-103PF12U, is one of the industry’s largest plasma panels, according to Rudy Vitti, Panasonic group manager for flat panel displays. The TH-103PF12U super-sized display feature 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, a contrast ratio of 40,000:1, and an effective display area equivalent in size to four 50-inch Panasonic plasma displays.

“The 103-inch is a showstopper for a wide-range of professional applications including live events and exhibits, boardrooms and digital retail signage,” Vitti said.


Lobby of InterActiveCorp building in New York City with a wall of Stewart Filmscreen StarGlas 60 Dubbed Mystik!, Stewart Filmscreen’s latest screen surface is a self-adhesive material designed for use in digital signage applications. Developed by the Manhattan Beach, Calif., company, the material is ideal as a storefront application, as well as for other retail and public venues, according to Trey Astbury, a company spokesman. It can also be applied to any window or glass door to transform the surface into an opaque projection screen, enabling privacy while also creating entertainment space. Mystik! material is available in roll form, up to 78 inches wide and 50 feet long, and can be trimmed on-site.

Stewart’s StarGlas 60 rear-projection screen contains a proprietary diffusion screen layer that is laminated between specially formulated glass substrates, using a process that eliminates air bubbles and boosts the amount of forward light transmission, while reducing backscatter. StarGlas qualifies as safety glass, so it can be used in architectural settings. It can be flat or curved, and can even be used as a display floor, according to the company.

Michael Birdwell, director of marketing for Digital Projection, a Georgia company that produces rugged large-screen projectors, is a big StarGlas fan.

“It works incredibly well,” Birdwell said. He uses StarGlas in combination with other products on a range of museum and exhibit projects.


AMX, with worldwide headquarters in Richardson, Texas, provides products for control and automation, audio/video signal distribution, digital signage and technology management.

An outstanding display of AMX’s technology is at The Cube at Queensland University of Australia’s new Science and Technology Centre. The center used five AMX Enova DGX 32 Switchers to power an interactive video wall space, said Lane Shannon, managing editor, AMX Marketing Communications. Touch screens allow visitors to interact with and control the single giant image that spreads seamlessly across the monitors and projectors.

The Enova DGX 32 includes higher-wattage power supplies to increase the number of devices that can be powered. It can be linked with Enova DGX video input and output boards in addition to optional audio insert/extract boards. There are four connections per video board, and each enclosure holds eight video input boards and eight video output boards for a maximum matrix of 32×32. It can function as the centerpiece of a complete integrated solution that manages and distributes analog and digital audio and video including HDMI/HDCP, control and Ethernet, officials said.

AMX also produces the Modero X Series touch panels that are also useful for the museum environment, Shannon said. They are built for usability offering edge-to-edge capacitive touch glass with multi-touch capabilities and come in a wide range of sizes.


Creston DVPHD-PRO control system Based in New Jersey, Crestron Electronics produces the modular and expandable 32×32 DigitalMedia matrix switcher for audio/visual system management. It provides low-latency digital video and audio switching and HD lossless multi-room signal distribution, said Joyce Essig, company public relations manager.

It is a high-definition signal management solution with advanced HDCP support, EDID resolution management, CEC signal management, USB HID signal routing, integrated Ethernet switch, simultaneous 7.1 and stereo audio, and a full range of selectable input and output types, Essig said.

The company also manufactures the High- Definition Digital Video Processor, a multi-window video processor that displays high-res computer and high-definition video signals with HDCP. It provides a fully-customizable HD graphical environment, and enables real-time annotation and touch screen control — all in a modular, scalable hardware platform, Essig said.


A visitor to London’s The View From the Shard examines Dataton’s Watchout multi-image display software. Dataton, the Swedish show control developer and manufacturer, this year launched a new Watchout suite of multi-display production and presentation software.

“The new features of version 5.5 ensure that Watchout is the most powerful multi-image display and presentation software available in the market today,” said Lars Sandlund, chief operations officer at Dataton.

It now provides hardware-accelerated playback of HD video in the H.264 encoding format. Watchout also supports playback of QuickTime Animation as well as H.264 video in MOV files, Sandlund said.

For even smoother video playback, the software’s Frame Blending harmonizes any differences in frame rate by smoothly blending frames together in a few simple steps, eliminating the need to skip or double frames. Users also can now self-assign all computer names and IP addresses in complex video systems or assign a name to an entire cluster group of display computers to be used in a show, he said.


Sennheiser, the audio pioneer with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Conn., produces the GuidePort system, a handheld self-guided museum tour device. It is used in many museums around the world, officials said. The device gives museum visitors the freedom to determine their own route and resting times. Special, discreetly installed GP ID 3200 identifiers detect the presence of a guide- PORT receiver and activate a recording with the appropriate information.

The device can transmit live speech or prerecorded speeches fed from an external source, such as an MP3 file. Sennheiser also this year launched the Anakonda, a bendable speaker with outstanding audio quality. Anakonda works for indoor or outdoor applications such as theme parks and museums. Speakers come in six-foot lengths and can link to up to 16 combined elements using the Anakonda’s integrated NL4 connectors. The speaker’s dedicated presets support a variety of configurations, officials said.


Tour-Mate’s SC550 handheld Listening Wand System provides engaging self-guided audio tours for museums and exhibitions. Headquartered in Toronto, Tour-Mate develops and markets self-guided audio tour systems for the interpretive market.

Designed to be user-friendly, these wands have a lengthy battery life, said Atul Garg, director of sales and marketing at Tour-Mate. Staff can redistribute each wand to multiple visitors without recharging between uses. It also accommodates larger group sizes and ensures that everyone in each group hears the docent. The TM-200 Group Guide System is RF-based, using portable transmitters communicating with portable receivers. For senior members of a group, receivers can also act as an assistive listening device, amplifying the sound that they receive, Atul said.

“Our products are built on three major covenants: accessibility, intuitiveness and reliability,” Atul said. “Our entire portfolio of product solutions, which ranges from handheld audio and multimedia solutions, to stationary eco platforms, to group touring solutions and even mobile solutions, are based on these covenants.”