Esquire House Lufthansa Lounge, Dream of Flight

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Highlights of Project

•    Main technology partner for an $18 million Los Angeles
     home
•    Concepted and created by Luxurious Animals for Lufthansa
     and Esquire
•    Gesture recognition and augmented reality technology
     using infrared camera to track movement and have user
     virtually fly
•    Software written by Luxurious Animals in C++
•    3D cities and world created by Luxurious Animals
•    Uses air amplifiers hidden in ceiling to blow wind when
     programmatically required

Roles

Agency, Strategy, Concepting, Gesture Recognition Technology Design, Game Design, Game Coding, Animation, 3D Rendering, Installation Design

Read press articles

examiner.com, Haute Living, Luxist, The Wrap.

Overview:

As the key technology partner for the $18 million 2010 Esquire House, Luxurious Animals conceived and executed a room-sized interactive installation for sponsor, Lufthansa. Our installation, Dream of Flight, is a simulated flying experience we created using gesture recognition and augmented reality technology. To deliver a verisimilitude of flying, it extends interactivity beyond the limitations of regular displays and controller inputs.

The custom-developed immersive interactive video game is projected on two walls, and allows the user to maneuver his flight path over clouds and landmark cityscapes using only his body movements.

The media room represents sophisticated technology seamlessly integrated into the ultimate bachelor's lifestyle. It also represents Lufthansa's sleek, modern branding and state-of-the-art technology.

Technique

To capture the freedom of flying, we removed any hindrance tainting the interactive experience. In order to soar through Dream of Flight, the user simply uses body movement. No mouse, no controller, just the user and the open sky. The simulator uses state-of-the-art projectors, massive computer hardware, custom software, and an innovative yet-to-be-released infrared camera. Computers control the projected visuals and ambient lighting, while simultaneously responding to the user's movements. Tiny air-multipliers (think industrial Dyson fans) linked to the simulator blow air in sync with the user’s movement to simulate acceleration.

Although the room is loaded with technology, none is visible to the user. Dream of Flight is a flawless, completely transporting experience. When the flyer stretches his arms out he "takes control" of the flight. Mimicking the motions of a plane, he can soar left or right through the clouds, or tilt up and down. The game will display the perspective in perfect unison and the air compressors generate wind that matches the user's acceleration.

Challenges

The game needed to be controlled by one person without any game controller, but the challenge was to consider the other people moving about the space without participating. To ensure an uninterrupted experience, we used a specialized camera that can identify the flyer alone to control the game and filter out all other moving objects.

Additionally, the space is small and required use of front-facing projectors versus rear projectors. This led to using short-throw projectors. To maintain a continuous image, we spliced two projectors together to create one large panoramic screen.

Our prototype air flow system created in the Luxurious studios uses an Arduino board (an external chip that provides digital outputs to software) connected to a fan. Initially, the fan posed some problems: noise, equipment size and the difficulty to control small increments of air movement. With our partners, Noam Maitless and Rando Productions, we upgraded our Arduino board to computer controlled air compressors that's now part of the installation.

What We Achieved

Luxurious Animals is proud of the beautiful three-dimensional islands created to populate our fantasy world. Our Dream of Flight installation pushed above and beyond the limits of ordinary interactivity and captures the grandeur of flight.

“Perhaps after visiting our virtual reality room, one can understand our passion for flying,” observes Nicola Lange, Director of Marketing and Customer Relations in the Americas for Lufthansa. “Through the virtual flying experience, soaring through the air comes alive in a whole new dimension. It gives the participant a sense of the inspiration that stands behind our services and achievements, and what drives us to be a global leader in the aviation industry.”

Dream of Flight portfolio page