Temporal Synapse

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Client: Eskenazi Health

Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

Completion date: 2013

Project Team

Artist

Adam Buente, Kyle Perry

Project One Studio

Industry Resource

Adam Buente

Project One Studio

Overview

In the body, a synapse allows electrical and chemical signals to pass between cells. The synapse permits the stream of data and information to flow through our nervous system. Temporal Synapse takes this anatomical concept and recognizes the linkage between our body and continually developing technology. As communication and networking is ever increasing, the need for temporality and reality within our surroundings becomes more relevant.

Goals

This relationship is graphically rendered in a physical space that can be experienced by visitors of Eskenazi Health. Temporal Synapse consists of 6 elevator lobby feature walls in the Outpatient Care Center. Each wall is transformed into an intriguing reactive lighting element that visually connects users to the human body and their environment. Through the flow of light within this system, data about the space and its users is visually perceived. The graphic patterning of the wall is developed from cellular structures seen within the body. The gestural continuation of this pattern can be read through each floor, growing throughout the elevator lobby tower. Each elevator lobby is developed from the same system, but form and scale of the pattern change, creating variation on each floor.

Process

An elevator lobby by definition is a temporarily inhabited environment. In a hospital, this common and often mundane experience of waiting can lead to adverse thoughts and emotions. In contrast, Temporal Synapse aims at providing the visitor with a pleasant distraction, encouraging interaction with the art and other visitors. It may spark a conversation between two strangers, or redirect a patient’s focus, even if temporarily. It can be both soothing and ambient, or lively and playful. The elevator lobby becomes a source of energy and life throughout the building, redefining what it means to wait.

Additional Information

The hardware and software system was developed by our former colleague Eric Brockmeyer. Custom drivers power the high output LEDs and a computer vision system interprets user movement in the lobby. We worked with Eric to develop the interaction scenarios and fading patterns. As the wall is engaged, a smooth pulse of light spreads to the surrounding components, and the compounding effect traces user movements in the space. These temporary reactions continually update, creating unique experiences.