Round Table is the vision of Ien Cheng, an interactive producer and gaming expert in New York City for his gaming space called Grasshopper NYC
. What makes Grasshopper compelling to me is the focus on social dynamics, community oriented play, and more democratic play spaces for people to be together. I was the hardware and software designer for the table.
I worked closely with designer David Costanza of Howeler & Yoon Architects
, who led the physical design and fabrication. Here Ien and Eric Howeler discuss the importance of ergonomics in a meeting with me. I developed the initial prototype and customized the vision engine for the table. I also oversaw the development of the client side application developed by Laia Soldevila and Jorge Villacorta for a special exhibition of the table at the Audi Urban Future Competition, in which Howler and Yoon were one of six architecture firms selected to participate. They presented BosWash, a vision of the Boston-Washington corridor in 30 years.
Many decisions went into the engineering, components and form of the table, but the result of the project for me was really about working with a visionary, a designer, and an architecture firm and trusting in the process to iron out the details. Eric and Meejin Yoon are incredibly accomplished and very understated and trusting in their approach to working with others. I am also proud of the quality and resolution of the screen, which is 1040px in diameter, giving it a nicer feeling than Microsoft Surface in my opinion.
The most challenging part for me was designing a calibration routine that could adapt to any shape display. Most calibration routines operate on a grid based procedure, so the points need to be interpolated in a uniformly scalable manner without distortion.
Working on the initial mock up of the table, I went back and addressed many of the issues with the MemTable that I didn't have time to address in my Masters.
Eric and Meejin worked day and night with the members of their firm on the competition, in which the Grasshopper Round Table was a key component. They won the top prize.