Mayor Defines Greenwood Vision

Engaging Interactive Experience from VisionThree Helps Deliver Greenwood’s Vision for Downtown Transformation.

March 7th, 2017 Posted by Business, Projects No Comment yet

VisionThree creates a dynamic 3D version of proposed downtown redevelopment for the City of Greenwood.

VisionThree, headquartered in Indianapolis, is known for its unique approach to designing experiences through the use of technology and engaging interactive applications. The most recent example of this is the A City with Vision Experience, a 2D and 3D interactive presentation experience unveiled Tuesday at Greenwood’s City Center by Greenwood Mayor Mark W. Myers.

Residents, community leaders, local business owners, and potential developers are encouraged to learn more about Greenwood’s business advantages and development opportunities through this presentation. Here they will interact with dynamic content that has been brought to life on the screen through subtle animations, photo galleries and an interactive 3D version of the proposed downtown redevelopment. These visually compelling content areas combine to tell a rich story about Greenwood’s many current opportunities and vision for future growth.

Business leaders explore the redevelopment vision for downtown.

This interactive experience will reside on multiple touch screen displays throughout the City Center located downtown, as well as on iPads used by city officials while on the road. This flexibility is central to delivering the story of where Greenwood is going in as many ways as possible to a variety of audiences.

“What we created for Greenwood made the Mayor’s announcement and plans much more impactful to stakeholders and media,” said Jeff White, partner at VisionThree. “This is another example of how VisionThree goes far beyond the typical PowerPoint to make powerful and engaging presentations.”

VisionThree worked with Greenwood city officials to develop a clear picture of the content this experience needed to cover in order to tell their story successfully. VisionThree’s creative team then led the concepting and presentation design, working hand in hand with their development team to make sure each content area was both engaging and easy to use. Successfully combining exciting and engaging interactive content with robust, well-engineered application development has been central to VisionThree’s success over the years.

Jeff White demonstrates walking through this experience.

The City with Vision Experience contains 4 different content areas in total. Presenters begin by exploring Greenwood’s current features based on current development and its location within the state and Mid-West. From there, users can learn more about the city’s vision and philosophy towards its future growth, as well as explore a section dedicated to the 5 major development initiatives currently underway. The final section is a 3D centerpiece completely devoted to the downtown redevelopment project, where users can explore the various projects and concepts that have been both planned and completed.

These experiences, both active and passive, combine to create a memorable experience for each visitor. The City with Vision Experience, as a whole, focuses on the commitment and vision the City of Greenwood has in its development, both past, present, and future. VisionThree is proud to have helped achieve this compelling experience for this sister city. One that truly embraces our motto: “Experiences Matter.”

For more information on how Greenwood is working to redefine itself and present its vision of its future, visit http://www.greenwood.in.gov/topic/blocks.php?topicid=309&structureid=45

For more information about Greenwood’s exciting announcement and how they used VisionThree’s experience, see any of the following media coverage of its debut:
http://www.wthr.com/article/old-town-greenwood-is-in-for-a-major-transformation
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2017/03/06/greenwood-unveils-30-million-plan-overhaul-downtown/98802620/
http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/greenwood/greenwood-unveils-big-downtown-development-plans

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Hololens Tech Demo: Pathfinding using Voice Commands

November 30th, 2016 Posted by Development, Technology No Comment yet

After breaking the ice with this demo, we decided to take it a step further and explore ways that we could provide functionality in larger spaces. The goal of this prototype was to create a system to navigate to a waypoint, and also to empower the user to create points of interest as well. We also wanted to explore voice commands, and we saw this as a great opportunity to accomplish that as well.

One of the first tasks, and an initial challenge when we sat down to plan the prototype, was to research how to use an existing path finding algorithm, called Dijkstra’s Algorithm.  By fully understanding the principles behind this, we were armed with enough information to apply it to our demo.  The alternative – pathfinding through sheer number crunching, evaluating every possible path – may not be feasible on Hololens, if dealing with a large amount of data.  We knew that we not only wanted the best path to be provided, but we also wanted it to update based on the user’s current position.  Both of these are implemented in this prototype.

There are many utility functions available that make setting up a room easy and fun to do. All functions can be triggered by simply saying a command. Here is a list of possible commands:

  • Create – creates a new node
  • Create Orphan – creates a new node without linking it to the previous one
  • Go to [node] – begin path finding to the specified node
  • Idle all – clears your current selection
  • Select all – selects all nodes
  • Tag [name] – applies a label to a selected node
  • Untag – removes the label from a selected node
  • Link – adds a viable path between two or more selected nodes
  • Unlink – removes the path between two or more selected nodes
  • Delete – deletes all selected nodes
  • Pinch – selects a node
  • Grab – allows the selected nodes to follow your view
  • Drop – releases the selected nodes from following your view

There are many practical applications for a solution such as this. Imagine a hospital, where the nursing staff is provided updated information on patient status by simply looking down the hallway. Or perhaps an art gallery experience, where approaching a painting on the wall triggers a hologram of the artist describing the work to you in person. Virtual tours of museums or visitor centers could come alive, with a personal guide discussing the room around you, speaking directly to you through the Hololens’ built-in spatial sound system.

For further reading on this prototype, please refer to Brendon’s project documentation here.


Greg Foxworthy is the Interactive Director at VisionThree. He is responsible for planning and leading the development team in the creation of all of our experiences, along with guiding our R&D efforts.

Tech Demo: Accelerometer Input via WebSockets

November 7th, 2016 Posted by Development, Technology No Comment yet

Inspired by this demo released from Google late last year, we decided to take a crack at what it would take to create a similar experience.   Our testing results were positive, as we were able to get very good performance using WebSockets and GreenSock.  This demo is performed using an iPad, iPhone and a MacBook Pro.

Connecting to the server in this demo was accomplished manually by entering an IP address into a text field on the mobile devices, however it would be possible to use QR codes or a similar approach to connect without having to enter anything at all.  By pointing your device’s camera at a code either on or near the display, the connection could be established instantly.

Practical applications are only limited by the imagination.  One example is a video wall that encourages all bystanders to connect and interact with their phones, enabling them to control the content simultaneously, or even go head-to-head and battle other players.  Such content could be located in a stadium or airport concourse, providing a steady stream of users to the experience.  This could generate some buzz to attract future visitors, and leave a lasting impression on your current ones.


Greg Foxworthy is the Interactive Director at VisionThree. He is responsible for planning and leading the development team in the creation of all of our experiences, along with guiding our R&D efforts.

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Immersive “Bicentennial Experience” Connects with Hoosiers using Interactives from VisionThree and Sensory Technologies

August 15th, 2016 Posted by Business, Design, Projects No Comment yet

VisionThree partners to create a memorable immersive experience that will tour Indiana as part of its bicentennial celebration.

VisionThree and Sensory Technologies, both headquartered in Indianapolis, are known for their unique approach to designing experiences through the use of technology and engaging interactive applications. The most recent example of their partnership is The Bicentennial Experience, a technology-infused mobile museum unveiled last Friday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD).

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Governor Mike Pence gives the open remarks at the unveiling of the Bicentennial Experience.

Hoosier visitors are encouraged to reminisce and dream as they interact with several captivating touch displays, customized programming, compelling visual imagery, and immersive audio – all featuring iconic Indiana sights and sounds. The seamless integration of audio-video capabilities and interactive design allows for a rich story to emerge within the mobile unit.

The self-contained mobile unit will reside at the Indiana State Fair for three weeks, before visiting communities across the state. It will be making stops in many of the cities on the bicentennial torch relay route, covering over 3200 miles.

“We’re excited to be a part of this amazing experience that brings Hoosier pride to life,” said Jeff White, partner at VisionThree. “Reaching today’s audiences can be difficult. Through a creative blend of intuitive design and engaging interactive content, we are able to successfully connect with visitors young and old. This compelling interactive prompts them to explore and learn more about our state’s rich history and exciting future.”

VisionThree guided the creative concepting for the overall experience, helping to bring cohesion to the initial vision. Brainstorming with Sensory Technologies on creative and technical solutions for telling these rich stories was crucial to the success of this experience. Successfully combining exciting and engaging interactive content with robust, well-engineered technology has proven to be key for these companies continued partnership over the past three years.

The Bicentennial Experience contains 6 different exhibits areas in total. Visitors begin by exploring Indiana’s stunning landscapes, historical sites and modern attractions in the Indiana Treasures space, using an engaging photo-viewing application that arranges images from all over the state in a dynamic shape matching the state’s, loosely positioned according to their real-life locations. VisionThree brought these otherwise static images to life, imbibing the display with a sense of energy and movement.

Visitors enjoy learning more about Indiana’s natural resources, historical landmarks and beautiful scenery.

Visitors are then guided through an Indiana Leads display, which educates them on the people who helped put Indiana on the map. The next area, Indiana Grows, brings our rich agricultural heritage to life using bold imagery, peek-a-boo discovery panels and a smell station.

Indiana Innovates highlights many remarkable Hoosier inventions and products with actual artifacts, while also covering the state’s production and technology history through three looping video stations, each focusing on a different area.

In the Indiana Inspires area, visitors are invited to explore a visual database of some well known – and some not-so-famous – faces. Touching these photos brings up more information about these notable Hoosiers, denoting both their accomplishments and which part of the state they are from. VisionThree paid careful consideration to making sure that every touch interaction springs to life with dynamic animation and content reveals.

Visitors explore famous Indiana faces.

The last area, Indiana Unites, is the finale for the exhibit, engaging visitors through a powerfully inspiring video that celebrates our past, present and future.

These experiences, both active and passive, combine to create a memorable experience for each visitor. The Bicentennial Experience as a whole focuses on the pride we should have as Hoosiers in our rich history and bright future. VisionThree is proud to be an Indiana company that has helped achieve this compelling experience for residents of our entire state. One that truly embraces our motto: “Experiences Matter.

For more information on Bicentennial events, visit http://www.in.gov/ibc/

For more information on Sensory Technologies, visit http://www.sensorytechnologies.com/

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Hololens Tech Demo: Placing Virtual Objects around Physical Objects

August 9th, 2016 Posted by Development, Technology No Comment yet

A Brief Note on Things To Come

Here at Vision Three, we’ve always been a company that has strived to stay on the cutting edge of technology, with both hardware and software solutions. In my 10 years here, I’ve been fortunate to have countless opportunities to discover new techniques and solutions for pretty much every project I’ve been involved with, large and small. For us, discovery usually happens between projects, however it can also take place concurrently with client work, especially if they are on board with integrating something new into their product. So when these opportunities arise, we jump into them without hesitation.

Being on the cutting edge has different meanings for different people. We’ve found that having some fundamental knowledge of what the solution is – how it can benefit our clients first and foremost – is key to increasing the breadth of our capabilities and service offerings. Simply scratching the surface on something new, and demonstrating a core understanding of it, is often enough to open the door to new possibilities.

Creating experiences is what we are passionate about. To that end, we have started a more focused initiative on experimentation and prototyping with various high-tech gadgets and SDKs, which leads to unique software solutions and hardware advancements. This post is just the beginning of exciting things to come!


The Microsoft Hololens is a virtual reality headset unlike any other currently available. The user is able to see through the visor into the real world, with virtual content overlaying the room they are standing in. This is also known as augmented reality, or the description I prefer – mixed reality. The Hololens’ hardware uses a technique known as spatial mapping, which allows virtual objects to be set on a desk, or hung on a wall.

We’ve been aware of the possibilities of Hololens for quite some time, and have recently been digging in to discover how it could help our clients communicate their messages in new, engaging ways. In the past, companies have relied on us to create applications to view hotspots floating around a 3D model of their product. The user would rotate the model with a touch screen to view different angles, and tap the hotspots to learn more about key features. While these experiences are informative, they aren’t exactly revolutionary.

This following prototype was created to explore new possibilities for conveying the same information in a brand new way. We are just using a box in this demo, but you can imagine something else – such as a car at a trade show, a dinosaur fossil in a museum, a jet engine for a training solution – and so much more.

We also discovered a new challenge during development, what we refer to as drift. When the hololens maps the space around it, it stores that data in a cache. When you move around a space, it is constantly comparing what it currently sees to what it has already seen, so a room can be properly updated if something changes. Tiny discrepancies between how a space was mapped just minutes before can cause virtual objects to stray from the location they were intended to be placed. By offering the ability to calibrate the virtual content to a fixed point in the room, we can provide an easy way to re-orient the content if it drifts away from the desired location.


Greg Foxworthy is the Interactive Director at VisionThree. He is responsible for planning and leading the development team in the creation of all of our experiences, along with guiding our R&D efforts.

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An Introduction to Virtual Reality: Overview

April 12th, 2016 Posted by Ideas, Technology No Comment yet

World-changing technologies often begin life as the stuff of sci-fi novels. Children grow up reading about and watching imaginary heroes use fantastic inventions to solve impossible problems.

Some of those children grow up dreaming of making those technologies real. The brightest of these achieve some level of success. Their early prototypes are enough to hint at a coming future, but they reveal the difficult real-world challenges that keep them from being useful to the everyday person.

So the dream sleeps, waiting for its challenges to become solvable. Most people forget about it. Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, it becomes real again. And we slowly and collectively realize the same thing:

It’s useful now.

Technology enthusiasts are familiar with the so-called “hype cycle.” Analysts such as Gartner go so far as to map it out. Pay particular attention to where they consider Virtual Reality (VR) to land on this hype cycle.

Gartner 2015 Tech Hype Chart (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3114217)]

Gartner 2015 Tech Hype Chart (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3114217)]

VisionThree has more than a few geeky dreamers under its roof, myself included. Over the last few years, we’ve experimented with each major VR hardware prototype that became available, and our firsthand experience agrees with Gartner’s assessment: on the wings of cheap and pervasive mobile technology, Virtual Reality has arrived, and it’s a powerful communication tool.

What is it?

Virtual Reality is a general term for immersive display and input technology that creates the feeling of being present in a computer-generated place.

HTC Vive on CNBC’s Closing Bell

Apps as we know them exist on screens. In VR, the app is a space you can visit. This has immediate and obvious benefits for fields like architecture, education and sales, but is also highly useful for demonstrating physical objects or places that would otherwise be limited by real-world constraints or resources.

Need to give a surgery patient a tour of their own heart? To inspect a scale model of a new building, trying out new furniture and scribbling review notes on the walls? How about learning to disassemble and reassemble a luxury car? Or maybe you’d just like to play tennis with a friend from overseas, on the moon?

Simply put, VR can do for physical places and objects what the internet did for storefronts. The key is what we call “presence.” Presence is the feeling that you are present in a virtual space, when you stop thinking about the technology and your mind engages with the content and place. It’s when your brain stops asking “where am I?” and starts asking “what happens here?” When a stunning virtual environment meets the power of custom app development, the possibilities are near endless.

Won’t it make me feel sick?

It used to until very recently, and it’s a very common fear. It’s like this: VR’s talent is to make cost-prohibitive experiences viable. So when VR came back on the scene a few years ago, we did the logical thing and built our own personal roller coasters. It turns out that virtual coasters have similar effects on people to the real ones.

The general public tries out the Oculus Rift virtual rollercoaster

Over the last couple of years, we learned something that should have been obvious: VR needs to be gentle to people. Whether or not someone feels sick after using VR has everything to do with what they were doing in it.

When your body’s sense of balance disagrees with what your eyes see, you feel sick. Anyone who has been inside a ship in choppy seas will agree. The two keys to avoiding nausea in VR are tracking hardware that locates your head faster than you can, and software that never tricks the mind into expecting to feel forces it can’t deliver on. Forces like the ones you’d feel on a roller coaster, for example.

We have to make sure that the VR app doesn’t try to convince you that your body is moving in a way that, in reality, it isn’t. With gentle, well-designed content and the latest and greatest hardware, VR doesn’t make people sick. To begin to unlock its true potential, enthusiastic geeks (like me) had to learn restraint.

What’s Possible?

All of these lessons and some incredible new consumer hardware have created the possibility to walk freely around a physical room and interact with virtual objects using your hands. To create, learn, simulate, explore and experience firsthand.

A Virtual Reality Guide to Virtual Reality

Videos can’t truly do this technology justice; you have to experience it firsthand to truly understand it. It can be a little intimidating to put the visor on for the first time, but nearly everyone is glad they did. And experiencing something in a well-designed VR environment is a fast-track to a powerful memory – one that can truly connect your audience with your product or service. Experiences matter here at VisionThree, and VR is poised to redefine what we expect a digital experience to be.

In future posts we’ll dive deeper into VR applications, available hardware and content styles. This introductory overview has opened your mind, and your eyes, to what’s possible in the future.

Want to know more about VR, or see a live demo? We’d love to show you how magical these experiences can truly be. Contact us here to get started!


 

Nate Logan is the Technical Director at VisionThree. He’s responsible for architecting the experiences we create, along with exploring new technology and making sure it works.

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6 Key Experience Technologies for Museums

February 12th, 2016 Posted by Ideas, Technology No Comment yet

Today’s audiences are over-stimulated and underwhelmed when it comes to most uses of technology outside of their daily routines. We’ve all become spoiled with the power of the computers we carry around in our pockets and the quantity of entertainment available with merely a touch. This quick shift in our culture over the past few years must raise a significant question for anyone seeking to engage with today’s average consumer – how do you break through and really reach him or her? How do you create a true experience they won’t soon forget?

Silvia Filippini-Fantoni, Director of Interpretation, Media, and Evaluation at the Indianapolis Museum of Art says: “Museums need to experiment with new ways of engaging their audiences, particularly the millennial generation, which is more interested in social interaction, participation and self-discovery than more traditional learning.”

When people leave their homes and workspaces, and head off to a museum, they are seeking a release from the monotony of the daily grind. They want to be entertained, and best of all, surprised. Whether they are adults seeking out an art museum or kids at a children’s museum, though the audience may be vastly different, they share a common desire. Today’s visitor wants an experience – something that completely engages them in a new and unique way. But what exactly makes up a good experience?

For many years, museums have begun the slow and steady embrace of technology to supplement their exhibits. It’s become commonplace to see a mostly static touch-screen mounted near a collection or positioned strategically as part of an exhibits theme. From straightforward image galleries that allow the user to learn more about specific pieces to simplistic games that review content featured within the space, users are beginning to see these elements as just a part of the standard routine within any museum trying to stay relevant in this digital age.

And while it’s certainly possible for a powerful experience within a traditional museum context, where the theme and collection speak deeply and richly to their audience all on their own, it’s definitely becoming a harder and harder to really engage your audience. Not to mention surprise them.

Naturally, the question becomes how to create these memorable, engaging experiences that delight and surprise visitors? What will it take to bring them back, time and time again? How can you move them enough to create spontaneous social engagement? It may not be as hard as it seems. We’re living in an exciting time for technology – where each year brings amazing new techniques and products that are helping creative minds break past the static touch experiences we’ve all grown used to.

To begin opening our minds, and imaginations, to what’s possible, we first need to understand our options. And while these options are ever expanding, there are definitely some key technologies that can unleash a myriad of creative solutions – while still remaining practical and achievable. Let’s explore a few below:

  • Augmented Reality. AR, as it’s commonly called, has made real strides in the past couple of years. With advancements in smart phone cameras, mobile devices are better able to detect real-world objects and augment them with whatever information you can imagine. Good AR can create a window into another dimension. Imagine bringing the inner-workings of machines, people, animals or artifacts to life. Or creating artistic expressions based off of the pieces you’re currently looking at. Not to mention AR’s ability to help make a game of almost anything. HoloLens may be the biggest player in this space here shortly, so check out this Gizmodo article to see what the latest hype from Microsoft is all about.
  • Virtual Reality. VR has been around for quite a while, giving users a view into an entirely new alternate world. But as companies like Facebook attempt to bring VR to the masses with products like the upcoming Oculus Rift, the resulting creative boom is expected to be enormous. Great use-cases are on the horizon. As Facebook, Microsoft and other big players enter this arena, this landscape will shift dramatically over the next couple years. However, it’s already beginning to turn the corner, as discussed in this State of Tech 2016 article by The Kernel.
  • Gesture-based Experiences. Taking an interactive experience off of a touch screen and bringing it into the environment can make quite the difference in how visitors respond. These hyper-sensitive motion tracking technologies can track your body and movement, follow your eyes, and even read facial expressions – allowing for true engagement and creativity. One of the most well-known implementations of this technology is at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gallery One experience, with its “Make a Face”, “Strike a Pose” and “Build in Clay” interactives. Read more about them here.
  • Interactive Projection Mapping. Projection mapping, the art of projecting visuals onto unexpected objects and surfaces, has been around for a while now. However, through the clever combination of it and other technologies, a whole new way to interact with objects is being created. Being able to engage visitors directly with artifacts and objects formerly resigned to stagnate displays is now easily possible. One example of this concept brought to life can be seen by a Dutch museum using this technology to bring their terracotta warriors to life in an amazing way. Check out a video overview here.
  • Location-based Technology. Making your environment aware of exactly where your visitors are and what they are currently interacting with is relatively easy with today’s beacon and GPS technology. Many museums are already embracing this concept, turning their visitors mobile devices into virtual tour guides. Delivering unique content to unique users is impactful, engaging and highly relevant. This article from Mobile Marketer highlights some top museums around the country currently experimenting with this technology.
  • 3D Printing. Another unique technology that is becoming more and more consumer friendly is 3D printing. Imagine allowing visitors to make something, whether art or science driven, and then leave the exhibit with a physical memento of their experience. As the “Maker” culture begins to become more commonplace, the ability to engage with this audience could be crucial. An outstanding example of this technology in use is located at the New York Hall of Science, in their new Maker Space. This link give a great overview of the project.

Hopefully these technologies excite your imagination regarding what’s possible. The future for creating true experiences has never looked brighter.

Interested in learning how any of these technologies might fit within your environment? Contact us to learn more.

 

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Top 5 Things To Consider When Creating An Interactive Experience

January 18th, 2016 Posted by Business, Content No Comment yet

So you know you want to do something interactive, huh? Whether that’s a straightforward business app to help your sales team, or a gigantic video wall in your tradeshow booth or corporate lobby, the problem is the same. Where to start? (more…)

Client Relationships

Are You Right For Us?

December 23rd, 2015 Posted by Business No Comment yet

Not exactly the kind of thing you hear coming out of a service-based creative firm often, is it? And truthfully, in the early-to-mid years of our company’s history, it wasn’t the kind of thing we’d have ever thought – much less said. We were looking for any and all work from just about any kind of client, a mentality fairly common in the creative agency world. And for a while, it worked. (more…)

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Experiences Matter. Here’s why.

December 23rd, 2015 Posted by Business, Ideas No Comment yet

Did you catch it? It’s easy to overlook when reading quickly. Our company motto, as we call it, is based on the classic idiom that “experience matters.” And while that’s certainly true, it’s neither the focus of this blog nor our company. (more…)