Obscura lights up Hard Rock Cafe's Gigantic Rock Wall using the NVIDIA Quadro Plex D2 supported by PNY
How do you create a tourist attraction in Las Vegas that gets folks talking? If you are Hard Rock café, you develop a totally new and exciting way for visitors to come and interact with your signature rock star memorabilia - a massive 18 foot wide, super HD, multi-user, multi-touch, fully interactive video wall. The real issue for Hard Rock was finding a company that would be both crazy enough and technologically savvy enough to successfully take on this mammoth task.
Hard Rock Technology Director, Joe Tenczar did not have to look far, he hired San Francisco based Obscura Digital, known for creating amazing visualization experiences such as the first ever immersive symphony for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra or the Trump International Hotel and Tower launch in Dubai, which used a 60-foot dome featuring 360-degree video footage of Dubai. Based on its experience with large power walls, the development team knew that it would need the latest ground-breaking graphics technology to power the truly unique customer experience the Hard Rock Café was looking for. As a result, Obscura contacted PNY Technologies, with whom it had worked closely on several visualization projects in the past, and obtained one of the first NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2200 D2, a multi-GPU visual computing systems.
Hard Rock Café owns the largest collection of rock and roll memorabilia in the world. Because the memorabilia is scattered among all of the Hard Rock Café restaurants around the globe, it is physically impossible to experience the whole collection at one location. That is it was impossible, until now. For the launch of its flagship store in Las Vegas, Hard Rock wanted to change all of that and create an attraction so spectacular that it would stand out above the din and visitors would flock to it. In Las Vegas that is no easy task.
The idea was to build a massive video display that would not only show off the entire collection in ultra-high resolution to multiple users simultaneously but would also allow them to interact with it. Hard rock wanted guests to be able to "touch" thousands of pieces of searchable memorabilia, flick through images, and zoom in on photos and videos. Obscura was chosen because of its amazing track record and creative approach: it had all of the necessary experience for creating stunning multi-touch walls and was also known for building one of the world's largest multi-touch walls for Hewlett Packard in 2007.
The challenges for Obscura were numerous. For example, the now famous Rock Wall had to provide a simultaneous useable form factor for up to six guests, It was a huge task to seamlessly blend a single application over the 18-foot wide by 4-foot high touch-wall at very high resolution. According to Obscura Digital CEO Patrick Connolly, "There were over 1,000 items of memorabilia, each averaging 8 mega pixels in size; a staggering amount of data. We had to ensure that the display was highly interactive, fluid and flawless, with absolutely no stutters. The Quadro Plex D2 with 16 GB onboard memory allowed us to cache massive amounts of data, making the video wall totally interactive. No other product on the market today could have driven this wall."
The project was a technical and an engineering challenge: "just getting a piece of monolithic glass, 18-foot by 4-foot, which housed the embedded film projection screen, into the Hard Rock Café was a feat," continued Connolly. "We used a 60-foot crane and had to block off Las Vegas Boulevard for the evening." The result was one seamless 6,000 x 1,000 pixel real-time image, one of the largest and highest resolution, video walls in the world. Three HD projectors display more than one hundred 4K-6K images and videos at one time. The new 18-foot long multi-touch wall scales across the GPUs seamlessly, and intelligently allocates space according to the number of users. Up to six users can simultaneously search through Hard Rock's expansive photo and video memorabilia using criteria such as music genre, item type, year, and memorabilia location.
The hardware is driven by Obscura's proprietary software, FireFrames, which was developed to take advantage of the Quadro Plex GPUs. "We needed low latency and intense processing power to deliver the real-time vibrant graphics required. The Quadro Plex D2 delivers that," said Niklas Lundback, chief technology officer for Obscura Digital. Obscura also used the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 by PNY graphics board to run the graphics accelerated tracking capabilities of the Rock Wall. Over one hundred tracking points can be monitored at one time, allowing customers to touch any image and drag the graphics around, select and open windows, play videos, and zoom in on items of interest. "With an image resolution upwards of 16 mega pixels, it's the next best thing to holding the item yourself'" said Connolly. Audio is also a critical component to the whole user experience and Obscura worked closely with TechnoMedia Solutions to provide true isolated sound for each user.
The Hard Rock Café Rock Wall has received world acclaim. "It was a huge success; everyone's really excited about it. Microsoft picked up on it, and a small version of the Rock Wall TM was one of the featured projects Steve Ballmer demonstrated at the Windows(r) 7 launch," concluded Connolly.
About Obscura Digital
Obscura Digital is an advanced digital video technology firm focused on developing high-impact immersive displays to help its customers extend their brand in amazing ways. Utilizing proprietary software Obscura provides world class immersive environments and interactive video displays for the worlds leading companies. For more information please visit www.obscuradigital.com
About PNY Technologies, Inc.
Established in 1985, PNY Technologies(r), Inc. is a leading supplier and marketer of NVIDIA(r) Quadro(r) by PNY Technologies professional graphics boards and XLR8(tm) and Verto(r) brand consumer graphics cards. The company also offers a full line of highend memory upgrade modules, flash media, USB flash drives, portable hard drives and flash peripherals. Headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., PNY maintains facilities in North America (Santa Clara and Orange County, Calif., Miami, Fla. and Parsippany, N.J.), Europe (Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom,) and Asia (Taiwan and China).
For more information, please visit www.pny.com.
*Images courtesy of Obscura Digital
The PNY logo is a registered trademark of PNY Technologies, Inc. NVIDIA and NVIDIA QUADRO are trademarks
and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks
are the property of their respective owners. Copyright (c) 2008 PNY Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved.