Dalhousie University, Faculty of Medicine – 2010

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Halifax, NS and Saint John, NB

The Dalhousie Medical Education Program’s new high definition video conferencing/distance education system links 19 sites at two university campuses and four New Brunswick hospitals. Mandated to provide all students with a comparable learning experience regardless of their location, the program was established in collaboration with the Government of New Brunswick, the University of New Brunswick and the Horizon Health Network.

The Challenge

A tour de force of UX and usability engineering, the Engineering Harmonics design team envisioned a learning environment that was completely unbound by geography. They designed a system where any number of rooms full of students, regardless of size, could join and leave a larger virtual “classroom” completely adhoc at any time, regardless of whether those rooms were down the hall, in another building, or in another campus altogether. The design requirements were such that the assets of each joined room, including every student microphone, the live microphone queue list itself, lighting presets, program sources, automated camera presets etc. would all be available to and managed by the virtual classroom as if it were one single space. Finally, and most important to this utopian design goal was the criteria that this inflatable background complexity not impact the system usability in any perceivable way to the classroom professor.

Robotic Lighting Project – 2008

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LRX Lighting – http://www.lrx-lighting.com/

A film industry manufacturer of robotic lighting looks to replace their bulky, mechanical switch based control electrics with a standardized electronic control solution in a new fixture design.

The Challenge

Design and deliver a complete robotic control solution capable of interfacing with existing USITT DMX 512/1990 compliant lighting desks and show controllers.

Features (Fixture)

  • Optically isolated DMX 512 input. The optical isolation circuitry utilizes an onboard DC/DC converter to separately power an RS485 transceiver. This methodology preserves adherence to the EIA RS485 electrical specifications while at the same time eliminating the possibly of ground loops that often plague DMX lighting systems.
  • 5 H-bridge motor driver outputs each capable of delivering 12VDC at 6A peak current. Thermal overload protection, soft startup, braking and overshoot protection built in to each driver.
  • 3-digit .56″ LED display for fixture selection and parameter adjustment.
  • LED indication of valid DMX data reception.
  • Automatic lamp fan control via CPU-monitored current sensor.
  • User-resettable non-volatile bulb hour counter.
  • Factory-resettable non-volatile machine hour counter.
  • Field upgradeable firmware via the existing DMX interface.

Features (remote)

  • Industry standard DMX 512 output.
  • 2-digit .56″ LED fixture selection display.
  • PAN/TILT/FOCUS/TROLLEY adjustment.
  • Momentary control of gel cooling fan to reduce lighting flutter during critical film shots.
  • Field upgradeable firmware via the existing DMX interface.
  • In addition to the handheld remote, Symphony also designed and created an accompanying iOS app that mimicked the handheld controller. The App, available from the iTunes store is designed to mimic the handheld controller and can control up to 32 fixtures wirelessly using Artnet.

 

Symphony Interactive Mockup

 

Comment

In addition to the electronics hardware, we also provided the manufacturer with their own branded PC support software to adjust machine hours and maintain firmware revisions and feature requests in the field.

 

Nuit Blanche 2013 – Ai Weiwei – Forever Bicycles

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As part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2013 in Toronto, an enormous reconfiguration of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles was unveiled in the center of Nathan Phillips Square. The installation dominated the outdoor space, measuring 100 feet long by 30 feet wide and consisting of some 3,144 bicycles, resulting in so much depth and volume the piece almost appears blurred.

The Challenge

Provide design, fabrication and logistics to the delivery of a steel skeleton structure capable of safely supporting an outdoor artwork comprised of several thousand bicycles.