Boston Children’s Hospital Interactive Media Wall

The Interactive Media Wall at the Boston Children’s Hospital was designed to be an escape for the children at the Hospital. These children battle terminal illnesses on a daily basis and are thrown into a situation where they have no control. The goal of our work was to transport the children to another world where they could forget about the battle they are facing and have a sense of control over their environment. Over the course of four years, our team developed the technology, designed the space, and created 24 scenes for the children to interact with.

 

Morphing Clouds Scene

Cloud Scene Concept

When asked to create more nature-based scenes, we immediately started our brainstorming session. By the end of it, we came up with an idea that everyone fell in love with. Set in the hills of a small village, visitors can walk around and trigger the transformation of clouds from their original shape to that of an animal.

 

Shape Exploration

For this scene there were 7 different cloud shapes used. In order to keep some variation and reduce repetitiveness, each cloud was able to transform into one of three shapes. Originally, the idea was to have the shapes transform completely randomly however the amount of storage and computer power needed to do so was unfeasible. After deciding that each cloud would have 3 different transform options, we started to experiment with different cloud shapes and styles in addition to figuring out which animals fit together. Below are the 21 final shapes grouped by which cloud they transform from.

 

Animation

 

With many different shapes to animate and multiple rounds of revisions to those shapes, to animate each shape by hand would take too long. To streamline the process and speed up our workflow, I created a template. In order to animate the transformation from cloud to animal shape all that was needed to be done was draw the shapes in a vector based file (i.e. Illustrator). Once the vector paths are made, you just drag and drop them into the Cinema 4D template and hit render. This not allowed for a faster work flow but also for a coherent animation throughout the whole scene.

 

Monster Doors Scene

Monster Scene Concept

Our most technically advanced scene inspired by Monster’s Inc. The scene takes place in an alleyway with various types of doors – different color, shape, animation, etc. When a visitor walks past the door, they trigger a ‘peek animation’ indicating that something is behind the door. Once activated, the door opens revealing the monster that lives behind it. The visitor can then interact with the monster and trigger multiple actions. With a year of development, this scene is the crowd favorite.

The Doors

The doors were a very large part of this scene as they take up a majority of the screen and are what visitors look at most of the time. We went through an extensive design and revision process to pin point the exact layout, sizing, and shape that would work best. Starting with sketches and moving to 3d, we went through many rounds of revisions testing everything from color to positioning of the doors.

Matching Cards Scene

Matching Scene Concept

This scene was intended to encourage communication and teamwork among the children and visitors to the hospital. Based off of a classic matching game, visitors have to find the two cards that have the same image on the back. The trick is that a person can onl turn over one card at a time. This forces people to work together and talk to each other throughout the duration of the game. Once a match has been made, the cards stay flipped over and when all matches have been made the game resets for another round.

Art Exploration

For this scene there were 7 different cloud shapes used. In order to keep some variation and reduce repetitiveness, each cloud was able to transform into one of three shapes. Originally, the idea was to have the shapes transform completely randomly however the amount of storage and computer power needed to do so was unfeasible. After deciding that each cloud would have 3 different transform options, we started to experiment with different cloud shapes and styles in addition to figuring out which animals fit together. Below are the 21 final shapes grouped by which cloud they transform from.

 

Animation

To add a little extra to the scene we decided to have the art on the back of the cards move. Instead of having them be static images each one would have a unique animation to add visual interest. The animations were intended to be very simple and non intrusive while being fun and playful at the same time. Each animation loops and will continue to loop until a match has been made. Once a match has been made the animation pauses to indicate that it is no longer an active card.

 

Particle Trail Scene

Particle Scene Concept

This scene was one of our more abstract ones encouraging kids and visitors to get creative. Set in a blank white environment, users control a cluster of 3d particles. As you move around in the real world, the cluster mimics your movements on screen. Each person controls a different color and can navigate around the scene independently. The clusters also emit light onto the hoops placed into the scene to allow for users to try and mix colors and create some unique effects.