Lighthouse screens are the right KITT for Dutch interactive installations
The Netherlands – 3rd January 2011. Lighthouse LED screens are at the centre of a burgeoning new trend in the Netherlands for art installations, which is taking the concept of large exterior screens and making them interactive.
With the vast majority of large exterior screens used for advertising and public information, there is a sense of disconnection - an almost Big Brother- esque omnipresence that the viewer has no influence over. These new installations are trying to redress that balance, making the viewer an integral part of the screen’s output.
One such installation is Between You & Me, located outside Factorium, a new school of dance and music in Tilburg. Designed by visual artists Martin and Inge Riebeek, a 5 x 4 panel (5.1 x 3.04m) Lighthouse Pi16 screen was supplied and installed by Hengelo-based Hecla Professional Audio & Video Systems.
Using technology developed by KITT Engineering of Enschede, a movable camera is mounted above the screen. LED light fixtures are mounted in the pavement beneath and, when somebody enters the central ‘light circle’, the lighting changes colour, the camera films the person standing in the light circle and then moves up a fixed track. Face detection software keeps the focus on the person’s face while, as it moves, the screen shows the visitor in the wider context of the surroundings. At the same time, the system generates appropriate slogans which are also displayed on the Lighthouse screen.
Founded by Andries Lohmeijer, KITT Engineering is set to play a leading role in the next stage of the LED screen market, developing the technology to make screens more interactive and, therefore, more public-friendly.
“Artists with unusual ideas like Martin and Inge are always welcome in our office. There a sympathetic ear awaits them, as well as skilful staff to help them realise new, interactive ideas,” says the company’s business development manager Jos den Hartog.
Such has been the success of the installation that it has already won a Prince Bernard Award, a prestigious Dutch award for culture, and has created a lot of interest from other artists.
A similar interactive installation using another Hecla-supplied Lighthouse screen is Machina Ludens, which was shown as a piece of art on Dutch interactive narrowcasting channel DROPSTUFF.nl. Using 60m2 of R12 panels, here a camera detects people in front of the screen and starts a game, based upon their movement and eye-positions. For example, the screen shows stars above the viewer’s head, which they can ‘catch’ with their hands and be awarded points for.
Further Lighthouse panels have also been used in conjunction with KITT Engineering technology for Dropstuff, an interactive narrowcasting channel that shows artwork, some of it interactive, on a network screens in museums, railway stations, schools, libraries and art galleries throughout Holland.
“We love to explore technology to the limit,” says Jos. “Although much is technically feasible, you are confronted with real life practical restrictions which can seem prohibitive. But the combination of our approach and the quality of Lighthouse screens means that we can create a huge range of possibilities.”
Lighthouse Technologies Limited is a global leader in LED display technology that develops, manufactures, and markets LED video display solutions for multiple indoor & outdoor applications, media and entertainment events, and sports arenas across the globe. With numerous technological breakthroughs to its name, Lighthouse has established itself as a multi award-winning leader in the LED display industry that holds itself to the highest standards of quality.
Founded in 1998 Lighthouse has a strong global presence with regional offices in Europe, North and South America, the Asia Pacific and China. Employing the most advanced technology, the highest quality manufacturing facilities, and world-class, round-the-clock technical support, Lighthouse satisfies customers on every major continent, captivating the imagination of millions. For more information about Lighthouse, please visit
KITT Engineering employs a large scope of technologies and private R&D to bridge the gap between creative concepts and the final realisation. We concentrate on the main objective of our custom, and pursue "real world" solutions. Sometimes this means we "downscale" high-end (Aerospace, Industrial, Military) technology so that it can be employed in a more practical ways.
The services we offer are the instruments to fulfill the mission. An important activity is to make an inventory of the concept(s), the targets, the people involved, possible technologies etc. We have learned the languages of artists, designers and facility-managers. On site we adapt and tune the delivered technology. Working in "Non forgiving" environments like TV studio's keeps our quality standards high. Fieldwork is indispensable to anticipate possible problems in the "real world".
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