The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted to give the museum a more interactive presence. They approached Rochester Institute of Technology’s New Media Designers and Developers to collaborate by creating an engaging exhibit to generate excitement within the rock community.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Project Manager / UI Design
Currently, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame exhibits focus on music education rather than music interaction and social connectedness.
Our solution was to create an interactive environment for the Rock Hall that allows users to discover and share music based on their diverse musical preferences.
A tactile experience that would be both Interactive and Innovative.
A method to encourage guest collaboration and foster community
Promote music discovery and enhance the learning experience
ON SITE RESEARCH
Before the project had officially started, we traveled to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to get a feel for the museums atmosphere, and to understand how users interacted with the exhibits. Some of the more popular parts of the museum were the sections in which the user could digitally more deeply explore the history, or listen to music from the various decades. Another popular section of the museum featured physical artifacts such as costumes and props used by various musicians. This visit made it clear that we wanted to take the best experiences of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and create an experience that not only allowed for digital exploration, but also provided tangible, non-static visuals within the physical space.
Through various brainstorming and white boarding sessions, we were able to determine that we wanted to not only create a digital experience but also a collaborative and physical experience that embraced the entire space. It was from this that the idea to build the spire was born.
The brainstorming session allowed the group to narrow the focus of the project and pinpoint the key pieces we wanted to expand upon in the exhibit. From here we were able to finalize our concept and begin setting it into motion.
Approach – Users approach the table with either a friend or stranger and touch the table to begin the digital experience.
Selection – Both users could browse the musical options from the same collections of decades and artists.
Confirm – Users would then confirm their individual musical selections to activate the environment experience.
Experience – The spire then populates with visuals from the ‘connections artist’ wile a song of that artist fills the space.
Encore – Users pleased with their musical connection can enter their email to receive a custom playlist based on the two artists selected.
To make this project happen we needed to focus on four key elements:
Touch Table Interface – The touch table interface needed to ensure the selection process of artists and behind the scenes configure both music and visuals associated with a rock connection
Projection mapping – To visualize the process, the projectors needed to intake the data from the table selection and transpose it onto the surface of the spire.
Spire construction – The spire needed to be built to very specific specifications so that it would display data from the projectors seamlessly.
Encore solution – To create a memorable experience the encore booth would need to allow patrons to see their personalized playlist and email it to themselves.
In keeping with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame feel, we were inspired by pink and blue neon lights. We wanted our UI elements to reflect a crisp modern look, in line with the experimental technologies we were utilizing, however, to make the user feel the gritty, unkempt, rock and roll atmosphere we used textured elements to increase visual noise and elicit an emotional connection.
To kick off construction, we measured and mapped different layouts for the spire via Cinema 4D. We settled on this layout for two reasons. The first reason being that the cube-like surfaces aided the projection mapping process and increased visibility of the content being displayed. The second reason we chose this form was for the practicality of building, and saving on cost of materials.
We utilized large sheets of foam core the build the body of the spire. Due to the limited resources, we only had enough money to build the outward facing planes of the structure. To support the spire from the back, we used various lighting rigs and lifts. For ease when storing and transporting, we broke the body into three stackable pieces.
Through our small scale tests, we were able to project our custom rock n’ roll content on our mini spire. Utilizing projection mapping allowed us to cover the entirety of our large scale spire with both rock content and custom spire animations/graphics.
While many of our initial iterations featured single interactions that would join upon the spire, we decided to go with the design that best utilized the space of the large touch table and encouraged users to interact with one another before confirming selection. With this in mind, users would have a chance to break the ice, and then following the spire experience could reflect with one another about their musical connection.
Our main goal visually was to help the user feel inspired and instill a sense of discovery within them. In many cases, it can be hard to match the feeling and visuals of music, but we focused on playing with light and texture to mimic the lighting and atmosphere of rock shows. We contrasted these elements with modern visuals of the spire to remind the user of the digital aspects.
Our final presentation was featured at Imagine RIT, a campus wide innovation and creativity festival that showcases the innovative and creative spirit of RIT students, faculty and staff.
Working on this project was a great opportunity to innovate with the team and come up with a creative solution. I really enjoyed being able to work with the development team the whole way through, collaborating and discussing the best ways to enhance the inSpire experience.
One difficulty we faced before the exhibition was that the projectors to be used during the festival were not delivered until the day before. This meant that we were unable to do any full spire testing until the night before the festival, which was extremely nerve wracking.
During the festival presentation, we utilized the ‘encore booth’ as an informational component about the exhibit rather than the playlist generation service we had originally intended. If we were to do the project again, I would like to explore further into the take-away aspect, or even consider offering a web version of the table UI so that users could discover new music at home.