3D volumetric LED system ramped up and ready to go mainstream
A new system called Dragon O features rows of LED strands arrayed to render video in three dimensions. A breed apart from conventional projection and LED screens, it treats viewers to an unprecedented sensory experience with uncanny spatial depth and surround views. Spotting its potential early on, satis&fy invested money and expertise to help develop Dragon. The rousing success of its public debut in May 2019 at Lancôme in Paris heralds great things to come.
An inceptive version of the Dragon O was presented at the Light + Building trade fair in Frankfurt in March 2018. Scouting the event, Francesco Elsing, Head of Innovation at satis&fy, saw that the 3D cube held great promise for events and entertainment applications. satis&fy and the manufacturer then began to hash out a game plan at the fair, setting the stage for the collaboration to come.
While satis&fy footed some of the bill for developing Dragon O, its specialists served as friendly sparring partners with the technical skills to bounce ideas back and forth. The notion of a room-filling, three-dimensional ‘hologram’ stoked the stakeholders’ creative fires, touching off an all-out effort to bring this project home. The system on offer now was ready to go by December 2018. It passed the final acceptance test at the manufacturers Chinese branch office in Shenzhen.
Bigger is better
The original Dragon was smaller with a volume of three cubic meters, but still large enough to depict a standing human. Today’s version is 18 cubic meters, which is plenty of 3D real estate to picture several people on the go or a horse at full gallop. The O appended to the new system’s name is short for organic, a reference to the Dragon O’s remarkable ability to mimic living creatures in motion with a natural flow. It takes around four hours or so to set up the system, depending on the given preparations. The venue’s ceiling has to be at least 3.5 meters to allow air to circulate around the installation.
Dragon O is very versatile. Lending itself to diverse applications, it appeals to the senses in a fresh way. Rather than asking viewers to remain rooted in one place, it treats people to a dynamic rather than static experience. Free to walk around Dragon O, they can immerse themselves in the video content, which makes for a more compelling presentation and stories that stick. While high-definition 4k or 8k projections leave little room for the imagination, Dragon O inspires viewers to let their mind’s eye wander and flesh out the content as they see fit. This is storytelling with a novel twist – a visual hook that pulls viewers into the action. Its designers arrayed the thin RGB LED strands in slightly offset rows to achieve its spatial depth and prevent interference from overlapping arrays.
Dragon O live
Industry insiders got a first look at Dragon O at satis&fy’s LIFT show. An open-house branded as an “Elevating Consumer Experience” for visiting customers, it took place at the company's Karben headquarters in April 2019 to showcase the latest and greatest in new tech. For this in-house fair, the company deployed Dragon O in combination with Holoplot, a one-of-a-kind audio system that uses wave field synthesis to ‘personalize’ sound reinforcement.
The system’s public debut followed in May 2019. Dragon O featured prominently at an event in Lancôme, where it was flown overhead in the dome of the Lafayette gallery for visitors to admire. Then it wowed audiences at gigs Barcelona’s Sonar Festival, at the Factory, a large co-working facility in Berlin, and at the Munich headquarters of Brainlab, a global company specializing in solutions for minimally invasive surgery and medical imaging. Sharing the spotlight with various artists at Brainlab’s 30th anniversary party, Dragon O rendered fascinating volumetric content that bore more than a passing resemblance to medical imaging data. The system’s success story is poised to continue at events slated for SEAT in Barcelona and at the Lancôme Consumer Activation in Amsterdam.
Dragon O affords designers the freedom to create practically any content for nearly any number of viewers. Its moving images can be circled and viewed from any angle. A 3D canvas for boundless creativity, it offers a depth of space that conventional high-definition screens simply cannot match. Mixed-reality applications are also on the horizon.
satis&fy’s and the manufacturers collaborative development effort continues in a bid to advance the state of this system’s art. Companies seeking to learn more about technical details, advice on scenic design, or to buy or rent Dragon O are welcome to contact satis&fy.