Company Post

Obscura Digital use TouchDesigner to make CONNECTIONS for FACEBOOK at F8

Obscura Digital used TouchDesigner to create a "physical, social, augmented reality experience dubbed "Connections" at F8, Facebook's developer's conference. Attendees swipe in to the experience using their RFID enabled event badge. Multiple overhead projectors map visuals to the floor and an array of 3D cameras are used to reliably track any number of people within the space.

Once "logged in" to Connections, a radial visualization, constructed from the user's social graph data, surrounds them creating a unique "fingerprint". Colored lines extend from the circles connecting people who share one or more of the observed metrics (mutual friends, interests, workplaces, schools, locations, birth sign, or non-English languages). When two or more people, who have mutual connections, stand within close proximity, a slideshow of mutual friends and interests appear between them.

Positioned behind the Connections space, a large screen shares aggregate data about the collective group- surfacing common interests and profiling the most connected of the group."

Here's what Obscura's James Hurlbut had to say about the realisation of this project and how TouchDesigner was used: A large number of factors contributed to making Obscura's Facebook Connections experience a unique challenge for the Obscura interactive team. These factors included a short production timeline, implementation of a tracking system for a large crowd of people in a busy convention center, RFID card associations, and the integration of live data from Facebook.

TouchDesigner's fast development workflow and unique ability for allowing quick iteration of changes made it an indispensable tool during the creation of the project. TouchDesigner's flexibility allowed Obscura to build out the project without exact knowledge of how much data would need to be parsed or even what format the data would come in until shortly before the event date.

Obscura was able to leverage the power of TouchDesigner's procedural operators to quickly update the parsing and rendering aspects of the project as unanticipated edge cases were encountered, up to and including the day of the event! TouchDesigner's CPlusPlus interface was also an indispensable tool allowing Obscura to leverage low level C code to generate associations between huge data sets at real-time rates while maintaining the flexibility of TouchDesigner's workflow.

Update Aug.07.12

BizBash Magazine featured Obscura's F8 project in their feature Building Better Meetings 2012 as one of the 15 most innovative meetings of 2012.

"Here's a look at our Innovative Meetings 2012 package, with smart strategies from innovative meetings and conventions like the TED Conference, E3, and Oracle OpenWorld. We've included tech tools, apps, and software for improving the event experience, ideas for smart and engaging trade show booths, trends in conference venues, and new meeting spaces in 10 cities." Read article here.