Interactive Annual 20:
Flying on Water
As close as one can get to womanning the boat herself without actually getting wet.
A wonderful example of design and technology crossing over into the physical world to allow people to experience what its like to sail. What I really liked about this is that the interactive components were not just virtualthere were physical interactions that allowed you to feel the wind in your hair and water across your fingers.
When the Americas Cup was held on San Francisco Bay last year, fans were treated to an up-close, waterfront view of the action for the first time in the international sailing races 162-year history. Even from afar, the 2013 yachts72-foot catamarans boasting thirteen-story-tall mastscommanded attention, sparking citywide curiosity. Race organizers took the opportunity to engage the public with an educational exhibit exploring the interplay of wind, water and state-of-the-art yachting technology, enlisting Obscura Digital to build interactive projections that explain exactly how the AC72 catamarans can flyup to 50 miles per houron water. More than one million visitors to the Pier 29 installation were treated to a variety of interactive experiences, including a tactile wall of composite materials, a 14-foot-tall digital 3-D model of the AC72 controlled by a large, glowing glass track ball and an enclosed wind tunnel blowing at 12 knots.
- • By putting a hand inside the transparent wind tunnel tube, visitors could shape the air flow to simulate air pressure effects on the AC72s fixed wing sails. Their movements were then translated to the virtual AC72 projected on the wall, creating a palpable connection to the physics at play.
- • Another kiosk revealed the AC72s most riveting featurehydrofoils. When visitors depressed a miniature version of these wing-like metal structures beneath the hulls, the projected catamaran raised above the water line, causing it to accelerate to twice the wind speed.
Comments by Nathan Houchin and Garth Williams:
Creating interaction models based on real physical phenomena was extremely challenging. It took a lot of finessing to make it usable, and it was difficult to keep up morale and belief in the final vision. It would have been much easier to fake the physical interaction with another technology (Leap Motion or Kinect), but we stuck to our guns and, in the end, it paid off. There is no substitute for real, especially in this day and age.
Nao Haitani/Marc Melzer/Ben Stokes, art directors
Bryant Place/Jacob Stephens/Barry Threw, interactive designers
Garth Williams, creative director
Sean Holt, information architect
Diego Novoa/Tom Sepe/Desmond Shea/Bryan Sullivan/Joe Vigorito, associate producers
Nathan Houchin, producer
Matty Dowlen, production manager
Iwamoto Scott, architect
Obscura Digital (San Francisco, CA), project design and development