A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

In depth control for MEDIALON in Centre of the Cell in London, UK

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Centre of the Cell is a science centre helping children and young people learn about biomedical science and research through digital games and audio visual displays. The centre is located in a pod suspended over the biggest open plan research laboratories in Europe based in Whitechapel, London, UK.

D.J.Willrich Ltd. (DJW) – recognised as one of the UK’s leading forces in the Audio Visual industry -, was subcontracted by the lead contractor Beck Interior, to provide a full MEDIALON integrated system in Centre of the Cell. DJW also worked closely with the project designer, Land Design Studio.

In Centre of the Cell, visitors are immersed in a full audiovisual experience throughout 5 different “spaces?, or scenes. Being the main A/V show and media controller of the installation, Medialon is in charge of the set up of each of these scenes along with their timings. The Medialon system remotely controls the power up and down of all the A/V devices installed in the pod. It also sends devices status reports to help the staff solve any difficulties they may have. The five scenes designed in the Centre of the Cell are timeline shows. Thanks to Medialon Manager Timeline, it allows to easily synchronize the music, sound and video devices for each of the scenes.

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A Pre Show with music and lighting effects welcomes visitors into Centre of the Cell. Once seated around the edge, the show begins. Using a Medialon control panel on a wireless touch screen PC, the moderator starts Scene 1. There, visitors learn about what cells are. Lighting and music change, video is projected onto 4 two-metre diameter round screens integrated in the ceiling and 6 speakers play the accompanying audio. At the end of Scene 1, visitors are warned that the “Nucleus? – a giant lozenge in the centre of the pod, containing 10 touch table tops and screen interactive games -, will start to open.

In Scene 2, the doors of the “Nucleus? open and the table tops slide out to reveal games about cells. Visitors can grow cells in a virtual laboratory or try to win cards by beating their partner’s cells with their cell qualities. An interactive floor projection game where visitors stand on quiz answers about the size and number of cells in the human body has been installed. In addition, there are touch screen games and information points around the perimeter of the pod surrounded by lighting effects and all controlled and synchronized by Medialon.

From a simple touch on Medialon control panel interface, the moderator triggers Scene 3. While the lighting and music changes, visitors are directed to sit down and the Nucleus doors close. Video is again projected onto the round screens and audio plays. This Scene shows how cells can be damaged and presents some biomedical research about cells.

This leads into Scene 4, where visitors take on the roles of biomedical scientists in the games to try out new research solutions. Doors open on the Nucleus to reveal different games where visitors can for instance learn how to grow new skin for burns patients, use microscopes to diagnose tissue and get feedback on their diagnosis, etc.

The moderator triggers the final scene, Scene 5, which brings the visit to an exciting climax with projection into the four circular screens showing the visitor how they can be part of this research, either by choosing a relevant career or making decisions in the public sphere based on their biomedical knowledge.

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Thanks to Panel, the free Medialon touch panel design tool, DJW also created a number of scene variations for VIP visits and special events which can be easily selected and launched by Centre of the Cell staff. The Medialon Panel also has facility for changing the timing of Scenes, which is ideal as the Centre caters for audiences of a wide range of ages and abilities.

“The main challenge, which was one of the things that drew DJW to this project, was the need to control independent software applications on 25 computers. Almost every computer needs to run different software at different times throughout the visit and this was a challenge that we could meet with Medialon – whilst making changes all the way along?, declares David Willrich, Director of D.J.Willrich Ltd.

The Medialon Manager V5 Lite software license controls and synchronizes all the Centre’s A/V equipment including: 11x Mitsubishi projectors; 4x Panasonic projectors ; a Dataton Watchout system ; 2x Broadberry PCs ; 11x rack PCs ; 12x Winmate Panel PCs ; 10x NEC 46? LCD screens ; 1x Bose ESP88 ControlSpace ; 1x DMX replay system; Estreamer ; 9x Visual Planet touch foils ;2x microscopes with proprietarily and custom build hardware and software.

“As we programmed the Medialon Show Control system, the client realised how flexible it could be and made an increasing number of demands to include extra modes and greater control over the system.?, says Nicola Jagger, Project Manager at D.J.Willrich Ltd. She concludes, “This took more time but means that the client now has a Show Control system that they really are happy with!?

For further information, please visit:
www.centreofthecell.org ; www.beckinteriors.com ; www.landdesignstudio.co.uk ; www.djwillrich.com ; www.medialon.com

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