This video wall rocks!
This video wall rocks!

Trust Hard Rock Cafe to bring you the best of performance excess. Their newest branch opened in Las Vegas on September 8th, and debuted with the biggest touch-screen wall I’ve ever seen. A mouthwatering 72 square feet (18’x4′) with high resolution that can handle up to 6 users at the same time. Created by San Francisco based media mavens Obscura Digital, the Hard Rock wall of fame lets you explore the entire HRC inventory of photos and videos. It’s a cool concept so check out the great demonstration video from Obscura Digital after the break.

Interactive media is really taking leaps and bounds. We’ve got a whole host of augmented reality technologies breaking into market (which is a field that Obscura works in as well). The digitization of our environment is a novelty concept now, but will likely go mainstream in the upcoming years. In addition to the giant wall touch-screen, the HRC in Las Vegas had interactive surfaces (from Microsoft) and built-in screens at booths. We’re going to see more of this approach to immersive media as resolution gets better, and screens get cheaper.


Obscura Digital built the wall using three 1920 pixel projectors for a total pixel power of about 6000. The system can handle over a 100 simultaneous images as they transfer across multiple GPUs. Workspace for each user is dynamically allotted so that visitors can start or stop using the screen without disrupting the experience of those around them. Audio is provided by TechnoMedia Solutions which mimics the video experience by dynamically shifting where sounds are heard to follow user space. Top it all off with automatic content updates from HRC’s website, and you’ve got one really amazing piece of conceptual media.

Conceptual and revolutionary media experiences is what Obscura is all about. They’ve explored building sized performance pieces (very much like the one we discussed in Germany), as well as other forms of immersive environments. I enjoyed exploring their blog to see all their different projects. They certainly keep themselves busy.

Despite the sheer size of the 72 square foot screen, the real story here may be Hard Rock Cafe’s approach to generating new consumer experiences. Adapting multiple media platforms at the same outlet and utilizing different vendors for each gives us a glimpse into the retail space of the future. Enhancing environments with digital media could be a win-win situation for everyone. Consumers get new things to look at and enjoy, retailers get increased business, and developers get to explore the concepts they enjoy. I shudder to think what will happen when we’re inundating with commercials on every square inch of public surface, but I think we will adapt to the new sensory overload or develop products that we can wear to block unwanted input. In the end, the power of digital media is spreading over our world, and while it will have its positive and negative consequences, it is likely to enhance our lives overall. For now, it’s just cool to see a screen that is bigger than the bedroom in my first apartment.

[photos and video credits: Obscura Digital]