Intel 5G Marble Run

The Intel Museum asked us to design an exhibit that explains 5G technology in a manner that appealed to schoolchildren from grades K-12 as their primary audience. Our designer wanted to craft an experience that would catch the eye from across the room to encourage interaction, and then captivate viewers with a dynamic experience that made the educational aspect seamless, easy, and fun. In a word, we wanted their visitors to push that big, green glowing button as many times as possible and love every second of it.

The concept of a marble run was the perfect metaphor to demonstrate the advancements in 5G technology compared to 4G. 5G is faster, more efficient, and supports concurrent packets of data moving simultaneously through the network.

The marble run allowed viewers to “race” a packet of data along a single, slower, 4G network “track” against multiple packets of data traveling along the concurrent 5G data “tracks.” As the balls raced along the track, chapters of the story appear in the center portal, integrating the educational aspect into the experience.

The digital displays in the background were synchronized with the paths of the physical marbles to illuminate them with animated effects that reflect the qualities of the respective networks; 4G is more viscous and slow, while the 5G effects are very crisp, discrete, and lively.

Developing this project involved tight integration with our fabrication partners. Numerous challenges were involved in synchronizing the physical and digital portions of the experience. A extensive set of settings were developed to allow for fine tuning of timings and screen alignment. Due to the physical nature of this system the majority of the track graphics had to be rendered in realtime so that they could be tuned to the specifics of the track layout.

Technologies Involved: Touchdeisgner, Node, Robotics

Involved Parties:
Client - Intel
Fabrication - Level 2 Industries

Developed while employed at Stimulant

© Isaac Gierard 2021