Animated Pin Art Shows the Future of 5G

Wonderwall pin animation
by Ken Kaplan
Executive Editor
, iQ by Intel

A giant intelligent screen called Wonderwall brings to life computer generated images of autonomous vehicles, smart cities and homes, all connected in harmony by 5G wireless technologies.

While an Etch A Sketch unleashes the art of 2D doodling, metal pin art allows people to explore the wonderment of our 3D world. Now digital pin art is showing what the world will look like in 2020, when 5G wireless networks connect 50 billion computing devices in harmony.

A growing number of smartphones, computers, wearable technologies, autonomous vehicles, home automation hubs, industrial machines and “internet-of-things” devices are exchanging real-time data on the internet. Invisible to the naked eye, all of this data is critical to smart devices that rely on the internet in order to function.

Learn more about 5G technology transformation.

To show how all of these data generating and consuming devices will cohabitate in the digital world, a group of digital artists created Wonderwall, a giant 1,248-square-foot intelligent digital screen that uses animated pin art.

wonderwall pin art

“We aimed to create wonder, incite curiosity and invite interaction around the topic of 5G,” said Andrew Sexton, Creative Director, 2LK. His firm has created trade show experiences for Intel for more than 20 years, but he called Wonderwall one of the most ambitious challenges yet.

Unveiled at the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Wonderwall displays computer generated pin art animations depicting the future of autonomous driving, smart cities, connected home and entertainment experiences, including virtual reality. Powered by a PC with an Intel Core i7 processor with six cores and a LIDAR camera, the intelligent screen runs on autopilot but can be triggered by hand gestures and voice commands.

“It’s an artistic expression of a hyper-connected future invigorated by 50 billion devices,” said Sexton. “It visualizes a reactive ‘system’ of connectivity that brings data to life, making the invisible, visible.”

Wonderwall was designed by 2LK and Moving Brands for Intel to visualize ’living data’ and ‘seamless connectivity’ brought about by 5G, the next generation wireless technology set to be available in 2020.

“The pins represent a visual system of infinite elements behaving in total harmony to showcase the power, scale and promise of 5G,” said Guy Wolstenholme, founder of Moving Brands.

Wonderwall is programmed by software company Renderheads to display an enormous range of movements, from changing pin sizes, colors, angles, light reflections, zoom-ins, flips, twists and zoom-outs.  It can react to live physical and audio stimuli that trigger animated simulations, video, text and other imagery.

Wonderwall at Mobile World Congress 2017

“This sense of life, of ‘living data’ was an essential part of the visual output,” he said. “By running a constant but subtle fluid simulation through the pins, we created the impression that they were literally breathing. There are constant and gradual swells, ripples and waves that moved in harmony in a relaxing, captivating way.”

He claims it’s one of only a few known installations dealing with generative content through this many pixels.

“To run generative, real-time content at 50 frames per second (FPS) is an incredible testament to our code running on a single PC with a water-cooled hexacore Intel Core i7 processor.”

He said the processor with six cores and an NVIDIA TitanX GPU helps deliver real-time content that amounts to 18.5 million pixels on a 1248 square-foot digital LED display with a 2.4mm pixel pitch. It’s the equivalent of a 12K quality screen that stretches almost 90-feet wide.

To illustrate how autonomous driving vehicles sense their surroundings in real time and react by warning the driver or applying the break, the Wonderwall team used a LIDAR camera — similar to what autonomous cars use — to capture movements of a show floor technology demonstrator. The LIDAR camera tracked the location and movement of the presenter then used that location data to create a point of origination on the screen. That point instigated rippling waves or interruptions in the pins art designs.

Wonderwall at Mobile World Congress 2017

Sexton said in the future, Wonderwall could use a variety of data feeds to trigger different animations on the screen, including input from touch, gesture, biometric information and social media.

The Wonderwall already interprets human data: the system dynamically tracks and responds to people’s voice and movement. This feature was amplified during evening party events where a live DJ and saxophonist played out through the system to great effect.

“The generative nature of the content means that any number of interactive scenarios are possible,” he said.

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