Thanks to some innovative integration of technologies, this 16.5-by-12.5-foot space morphs into a concert hall when someone loads a concert DVD into the player, and simulates the environment of a video game that’s spinning in the Microsoft Kinect gaming system.
“This room isn’t just about passively watching video games and movies,” says custom electronic (CE) professional John Lattion of Creative TSI, Calgary, Alberta Canada.“It’s about truly experiencing those video games and movies … in a whole new, realistic way.”
For demonstration purposes in this Astoria Custom Homes showhome at the Street of Dreams event, Lattion and his team designed a special GOLF button on an Elan g! touchpanel, intended for a user to press after he loads Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 into the Kinect gaming console. On this command, all of the green LED lights in the room activate, making the space look at feel like a golf course. During Dance Central, various disco lights pulse to the beat of the music. According to Lattion, scenes for every gaming title in the library of the future owner of this $2.6 million house can be designed and programmed into the Elan g! system.
The g! system, combined with clever custom programming, is also capable of turning the room into a concert venue. Currently, the system mimics the live recording of the Blu-ray Disc Adele Live at Royal Albert Hall. After a user loads the disc and presses RITD (short for Adele’s single, “Rolling in the Deep,”) or a generic CONCERT button, a fog machine emits a light mist through a small porthole in the wall and lights move in sync to the effects on stage. “It’s very immersive, making it a much more powerful experience,” says Lattion.
The design of the room—not just the technology—was critical to experience, as well. The 151-inch Da-Lite Cinema Contour screen covers the entire front wall, and a Runco LS-HB video projector was mounted behind it so that the fog and lights wouldn’t interfere with its performance. A La-Lite RPM (Rear Projection Mirror) System allows the giant 151-inch image to be generated within a 10-foot-deep space behind the screen (see photo below). And with no traditional home theater seats to step around when interacting with a video game, there is plenty of space for gamers to jump, dance and spin.
Also breaking tradition are the Monitor Audio speakers, which are part of a 3000-watt sound system. “In a conventional theater, you’d see speakers on the floor or in the walls—never in the ceiling like they are in this room,” Lattion explains. It’s just one more step his company took keep the floor clear for lots of fog, lighting effects and movement.
Sonance LaunchPort Snaps Room to Attention
It doesn’t take much to get this virtual reality room to ready for action. The simple action of docking an iPad2 onto Sonance’s LaunchPort system in the wall triggers the colored LED lights, audio system, Kinect gaming console, Runco video projector and fog machine. Removing the iPad2 from the dock puts the room to sleep, turning off all of the equipment. The Sonance LaunchPort dock, along with a companion iPad2 sleeve, employs magnets to hold the iPad 2 in place, where its batteries are automatically charged. Creative TSI attached a sensor to these magnets, so that when contact between the sleeve and dock are made, a signal is transmitted to an Elan g! home automation system, which in turn activates the gear that make this room spring to life.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
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