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Spaccanapoli Immersive Walk at the Palazzo Reale Museum

06 May 2016

Naples, Italy: The “Spaccanapoli Immersive Walk”, is an installation at the Palazzo Reale Museum in Naples, with the goal of providing an immersive and interactive simulated walk through a famous historical street of Naples named “Spaccanapoli”.
The installation is based in a room with video-mapped front and side walls. While the visitors stand in the room the media provides an immersive visual effect of walking through the street. The footage was filmed with a Red Epic at 6K resolution, 60fps and was used with a steadicam in order to simulate the visitors’ point of view.

Along the street there are a number of historical monuments that are handled by the application as special focus­points. When the image of a monument passes by, the spectator has the opportunity to receive more information about the monument, by stepping towards it. This action activates a proximity sensor that pops­up an informative card on the monument. When the information card is shown the footage slows down and the part of the background video around the text shown blurs, leaving the extra information in focus.
Each focus point has its own associated show­time, based on the amount of information provided to the user, and while the card is shown, a progress­bar is generated by the system, at the bottom of the card, showing the time left before the footage is reverted to its normal state.

The footage and speed of replay are shared by the left and right sides, however focus­points (i.e: spectator detection, additional information presentation and background blurring) are managed independently on the two sides.

The central area shows a timeline, generated dynamically by the Ai in order to show the absolute position of the audience along the path.

In addition to visitors’ movements, the installation can be controlled by an iPad app. This additional control is meant for the guide in case the installation is attended by guided groups (e.g. school classes). The iPad app can also control the forward and backward movement of the walk experience and restart it, if needed. Ai also implements a “heart beat check” in order to revert to default behaviour in case the iPad app loses connection unexpectedly. When the iPad app is detected by the central management system (Nucleo­Control­Room) that overviews all museum installations, developed by IBR Sistemi, the movement sensors are excluded.

Both movement sensors and the control app interact with the Ai media server through a message­based protocol over UDP/IP.

The application is engineered as a generic framework tailored for the specific installation by a configuration file.
The framework provides generic control logic for the main video footage, video effects, focus­point handling (contents loading and timing), de-multiplexing UDP/IP messages from sensors and the iPad app, real­time generative contents and features for forward/backward progress of the walk experience.The configuration file is a csv file and provides focus­point specific data such as: contents sources, positioning along the path, activation­enabled intervals and contents projection time.

The modular design of the content and the real time generative component allows for the addition of new contents on the fly.

The installation is powered by an Ai media server and leverages on its extendibility through the node-programming component. In addition to the rich built­in video control features, providing a robust and reliable platform to start from. Ai customisation features have streamlined the addition of user interaction and specific additional control through a mobile device.  The node programming environment has provided a rich module library for basic control logic, UDP communication, csv file parsing and video control. The generic JavaScript programmable component has provided additional flexibility and boosts where iterative or complex algorithmic logic was required.

System versatility, moves the focus of designers from ‘what’s possible to do’, to ‘what we’d like to do’ and allows adding features to the system during the growing of the total project adapting to the new needs and requests.
The Auto­blend function has simplified the softedge of the three projectors and the 3D viewer has streamlined the development and customer review of the project before the final location was available.

MIBAC Ministry of Cultural Heritage

Regional Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Campania
Vitruvio Srl, for project management and construction supervision
IBR Sistemi Srl, for Multimedia solutions
Fabio Antoci, AI specialist and System integrator