Using the Weather Channel’s air quality API SOFTlab designed an interactive wall for the lobby of the new IBM Watson headquarters in Atlanta. The interactive wall acts as a physical example of how the partnership between IBM and the Weather Channel can lead to creative innovations in technology in ways we’ve never anticipated before.
The tiled form of the wall is inspired by weather patterns. Each folded aluminum tile is folded and rotated to represent a field of vectors driven by currents of flow. Through a user interface integrated into the wall visitors can select various cities based on the lowest, highest, and trending air quality across the globe. The Air Quality Index of various cities is analyzed and used to visualize a global air flow map. This air flow vectors are used to control the back lit LED grid. Each folded panel is back lit by a specific color generated by the average Air Quality Index. Each LED in the grid is covered by a diffuser and a white powder coated aluminum panels that both reflects and catches light. The folding of each panel is designed to give the diffused light a three-dimensional quality as it shields and bounces light off its neighbors. The changing directionality of the panels reveals the back lit LED visualization in different ways depending on where a viewer is standing. This lenticular like effect of the panels creates variable “hotspots” along with the visualization, creating an analog effect that works in tandem with the digital visualization. Through the composite of diffused LEDs and the folded aluminum panels the wall gives light a tactile almost material like quality, meant to go beyond a typical LED grid or screen. By giving the light both material and three-dimensional qualities along with the visualization, the wall appears to almost breath. Similar to the planet, the wall is meant to evoke a system that is less of an object but a dynamic mix of both material in many states that all influence one another.
Photos: Alan Tansey