An ultramodern, underground museum is using interactive digital signage and digital place-based media to take visitors on an immersive tour through the past of the historic Polish city of Cracow.
The museum is located directly below Cracow's main square, and its main exhibit, "Following the path of the European identity of the city of Cracow," is located 4 meters under the surface and encompasses the total area of about 4,000 square meters. The exhibit represents the role of the city of Cracow in medieval Europe and underlines the more than 800-year-old tradition of trade and craft within the area.
A consortium under the leadership of TRIAS S.A., a Polish firm specializing in event engineering and Audio/Video Integration, led the concept development as well as the execution of the exhibition part of the project, including multimedia.
One of the underground museum's main attractions is a screen made up of water steam on which images are projected, and more than 500 monuments discovered within the area of the underground of the market have been fitted with customized 3-D animations. Installed touch screens offer the visitors the opportunity to magnify a particular exhibit and admire it in a three-dimensional perspective from various angles. The exhibition is equipped with, amongst others, NEC touch screen panels.
The exhibition has been based upon the monuments, which were discovered during archaeological works conducted between 2005 and 2010. It presents, amongst others, the remains of a medieval settlement and structural elements of a building, dating back to the reigns of BolesÅaw V the Chase and Cassimir II the Great, paralleled by as many as 700 everyday use objects from the aforementioned era.
The underground museum was established with a heavy application of modern multimedia and exhibition technology applied in the process of presentation of images, feature films, sounds and 3-D animations, TRIAS S.A. says, establishing a vivid illusion of the bustling medieval city of Cracow. The visitor is thereby given the chance not only to see but also to feel the atmosphere of the past of the legendary city, the company says.
"The exhibition was prepared with the application of advanced technology, which allows for ensuring of a broad interaction of a visitor with the presented content. It is an amazing spectacle of impressions, which allows all viewers to travel in time and space. Thanks to the use of multimedia and exhibition techniques, the under Cracow Main Square exhibition is one of the most modern exhibitions in Poland and in Europe," Zbigniew Klonowski, president of the board of management of TRIAS S.A., said in an announcement.
The exhibition also employs holographic projectors, mainly applied in the process of a three-dimensional reconstruction of the buildings of the past. The museum also features Panasonic plasma screens and a 190-degree large format projection system of Panasonic and EPSON projectors, and all the multimedia are controlled with the application of an integrated digital system. TRIAS S.A. also used Christie HD and Christie Roadster projectors, as well as 420 modules of HiLED touch curtain; LED panels; an LED illumination system manufactured by Thomas; and outdoor LED highlighting and illuminating devices.
Along with the opening of the museum, TRIAS S.A. announced that it also presented a 3-D mapping show, the first of its size in Poland. The façade of the monumental building on which the mapping was presented is more than 100 meters long.
The exhibition is extremely popular with visitors, according to Klonowski.
"During the first month it has been visited by more than 30,000 people," he said in a recent e-mail. "Modern multimedia and exhibition techniques, based upon the principle of interaction with the visitor, enable (them) to get to know the history of medieval Cracow."
Tomasz Zalewskiego, technical project manager of A/V integration for TRIAS S.A., says the digital signage system is controlled by URVE software that has been installed on all 90 computer system posts and is operative on all of the 90 present computers with the application of the principle of the Manager and Player Profile server.
"Each of the players which replays the given presentation or a film, is managed from the level of the Manager with the application of Ethernet network," Zalewskiego said in an e-mail. "The hereinafter configuration allows to manage all of the previewed information upon any of the screens or monitors from a single location. Thanks to the fluent area configuration (the possibility of alignment up to 1 pixel) the system also ensures excellent performance in the case of large screen projections, which reach the resolution of up to 5120 x 720 pix."
The system also has the capability, Zalewskiego says, for the alignment of any desired, infinite number of areas of presentation on a single monitor.
"Thanks to the application of the profile server the operator of the system is at any time able to replace the material being presented with any other material or may change the settings of the particular player without any apprehension that there should exist any danger of mixing up players, especially in the situation when dealing with significant quantity of various equipment units and each and every one of them showing a different piece of media," he said.
The software has an embedded play list with the capability of configuring the length of clips, the order of playing of particular materials or any desired alignment of the length of the loading of the presentation, he says, which allows for the elimination of any "flashes" occurring between the separate materials. The systems also offers the possibility to control the play list with a touch screen panel, and, thanks to the set of video codecs, the systems is able to play any desired format of files and media, which are applied within the system of graphics and creation of video materials, he says.
"By possessing Internet access to the manager, we are able to manage every player present within the system from any location on Earth," he said. "All you need to do is possess access to the Internet as well as the proper technical knowledge. What is more, we are able to access the player in a remote manner and view the content displayed at the exit of the very player. The applied system is very intuitive, easily programmable and at the same time is able to meet the most demanding applications."