In response to Sunday's post, Autodesk Labs at Autodesk University, this was a conceptual shot created during our design of the main stage presentation. As you might have already read from several blog posts from attendees, this year's main stage presentation was in the round with large screens on the perimeter of the hall.
The Autodesk Labs team developed software to control and synchronize 20 computers running a variety of applications. How does one pull off such a daunting task? The first step is to number the computers:
During its development, there was something that really caught our ears. You're all familiar with the Windows start up music that plays when you start/restart your computer. Well, we would issue a boot command from the main controller, and the 20 computers would boot up simultaneously. The result was like an orchestra playing the Windows startup music in unison. It was music to our ears.
Based on some of the blog posts, it looks like the presentation was a success:
Steve Bennett: L.A. CAD / U.S. CAD: 2D or not 2D
"Holy crap - Autodesk is screwing with my brain BIG time now. I sat through the general session this morning at Autodesk University."
Steve Bennett: L.A. CAD / U.S. CAD: 2D or not 2D: General Session Video
"As promised (later than I wanted) here is a link to view the general session video that was the best in my opinion."
David Cohn: CADman-DO: Autodesk University - Day One Main stage
"Quite an amazing series of presentations. I can't wait to learn more."
Robin Capper: RobiNZ CAD Blog: RobiNZ @ Autodesk University 2007 - "Designing the Future" Main-stage
"That's a two paragraph summary, tapped out between sessions, which really doesn't do justice to a stunning presentation."
Shaan Hurley: Between the Lines: AU 2007 - Tuesday Afternoon..Photos, Certification Guide, and R14 Flip Flops
"…I don't think I could say anything for a minute as I was speechless."
Mark W. Kiker: CADDManager.com Blog: Day One - Autodesk, in 360°
"The event hall was packed - 360 stage. The whole audience was surrounded by video screens that projected stitched images of cityscapes."
Mark W. Kiker: BLAUGI: AU 2007 - Day One - Autodesk, in 360°
"The stage, by the way, was in the center of the massive room. Carl and company were surrounded by the audience. This "in the round" style theme was carried out elsewhere; the room was encircled by large white screens, which later would be used to dazzle attendees."
Melanie Stone Perry: Mistress of the Dorkness: Mid-week report
"The opening session blew me away with these 360 screens and surround sound. WOW is all I can say about that."
Donnie Gladfelter: The CAD Geek Blog: AU 2007 – Day 1
"Surrounding the entire room was more than 20 projection screens which served as the medium for one of the most immersive demos I have ever seen."
Beau Turner: Will Render For Food: AU Post Wrap-Up
"The Keynote speech was probably the best one I have seen at AU and the screens and seating were a positive change (a pain of mine from last year solved)."
Kenneth Wong: Cadalyst: Event Report: Autodesk University 2007, Part 1 2007-12-03
"The opening session of AU 2007 closed with an impressive, if dizzying, panoramic audiovisual demonstration -- a simulated flight above, below, and through a digital cityscape projected on multiple screens surrounding a room packed with thousands of attendees. The display was meant to reinforce Autodesk's new motto: Experience it before it's real." http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/Cadalyst+Daily+(Archives)/Event-Report-Autodesk-University-2007-Part-1/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/476683?ref=25
Roopinder Tara: CAD Insider: AU 2007 Day 1: Main Keynote 2007-11-27
"On the whole, I'll remember this presentation for the dazzling display of technology of another kind -- an audiovisual technology with huge screens that encircled the audience. A BIM model of some city (was it Las Vegas?) brought oohs and aahs from the crowd." http://cadinsider.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/11/au-2007-day-1-m.html
Robert Green: Cadalyst: Autodesk University Report from 1051 Feet
"Autodesk did an "in the round" presentation at AU, which showed a cityscape displayed around the audience via an array of large, flat panels. The visual effect really was breathtaking."
Ellen Finkelstein, EllenFinkelstein.com: Autodesk University 2007
"AU always starts with a General Session, and it's always quite a show. They outdid themselves this year. Carl Bass, Autodesk CEO, hosted the event, complete with screens at the center and completely encircling the audience."
Lachmi Khemiani, AECbytes, Autodesk University 2007
"The opening session ended with a major spectacle—large-size video screens that were positioned in a continuous sequence all around the auditorium flashed a 360º view of images from Metropolis, accompanied by music. Both the vision, as well as the grand manner in which it was presented, were absolutely awe-inspiring... I can’t remember having this kind of “Wow!” reaction since I saw both SketchUp and Autodesk Architectural Studio debut at the AIA Convention all the way back in 2001."
Jonathan Knowles as interviewed by Shaan Hurley
"...20 HD screens with 40 HD projectors in the round... a real immersive experience for people..."
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert
"Two thumbs up!"
(Okay I made this last one up - but the others are real.)
Our favorite customer exchange the Autodesk Labs team overheard was:
Customer A: “Wow, now that’s a cool video!”
Customer B: “Yeah!”
Customer B: “Dude, that’s not a video!”
Customer A: “Huh?”
Customer B: “He’s got a joystick!”
Coordination, much like patting our heads and rubbing our stomachs, is very much alive in the lab.