VOX Virtual Hologram Installation

The Brief:

Working along with NE1 Ltd, the company aims to regenerate one of Newcastle’s site, the Bigg Market. With the company’s primary interest being in education, the brief was to create design concepts on ways to restore the site’s heritage as well as the city’s economic fortunes now and into the future. 

The Concept:

VOX, a virtual hologram box installation, inspired by the Winter Zoo built in Bigg Market during the 1960s. The Winter Zoo’s presence has brought a significant impact to the area as it generated crowds and visitors each day. As so, we chose to bring this iconic heritage back to site.

Research & Development

After doing initial researches about the Bigg Market, we proceeded on initiating interview sessions with pedestrians at Bigg Market. This gave us better insights about the people’s impressions of the area and what could be improved. We also did site observations for several days to understand better the interaction and activities happening in the area. The process gave us a good overview of the crowd who uses the area. We made a target audience mind map to know who are the people that we should target our project towards.

After we gathered the secondary researches, we observed a few popular spots in Newcastle, analysed and compared them to the Bigg Market. We looked into the main reasons of why crowds visited the chosen sites more frequently compared to Bigg Market, bringing in huge amount of income to the site compared to the Bigg Market. We then listed out a few pinpoints that could possibly be the cause of generating crowds and thought about ways to apply them to the Bigg Market.

We went through several idea generation workshops such as the extreme character, bootlegging, connecting two categories and form ideas, etc. 

Finally, we came out with a few idea concepts where we developed them into visual representations to better explain our ideas to our client.

The Concept

What Is It:

VOX is a seamless approach to captivate individuals and crowds in exploring the exciting pinpoints of the Bigg Market during its prime. VOX showcases spectacle holograms of any sort such as the Winter Zoo animals.  

Inspiration:
The Winter zoo in Bigg Market, VOX showcases spectacle holograms of any sort such as the Winter Zoo animals.  

Aim:
To bring the users back in time to experience and also reminisce what the Bigg Market used to be, putting ‘family-oriented’ as the heart of our project’s engagement.

Unique Selling Point:
To allure the curious minds about the heritage left behind.

Refined Features

Sensors:

VOX uses a proximity sensor to detect the distance between the installation itself and pedestrians. When nothing is being detected, each hologram would be an idle state. When something is being detected, the hologram comes out of it’s idle state and shows an animated sequence.   

Sound: 
Using also proximity sensors, when nearby pedestrians are detected, VOX produces sound effects. Each sound effect would relate to the specific hologram showcased inside a VOX, e.g a winter Zoo elephant hologram will produce elephant noises.

Information:

Other than holographic animations and videos, VOX can also showcase short informative text which gives people an idea what The Bigg Market was like. After showcasing the animated sequence, holographic text will appear e.g “Introducing one of the most iconic animals from the winter Zoo, Fred, the elephant”.

Design Inspiration

Since the heart of the project is by bringing back the heritage of Bigg Market, we thought it would be nice to complement some features or objects found in Newcastle from years back. We noticed victorian lamp posts were built along the Monument street. There is a victorian toilet being archived in Bigg Market and lamp posts like such were widely used in the victorian periods all over Newcastle and the United Kingdom in general. As such, we decided to use the victorian builds to bring the culture, identity, ambient of historical scenes back for our users while interacting with the hologram. 

Our first model was built out of 4 sheets of plastic using our mobile phones to test whether the hologram works. It also gave us us an opportunity to experiment with different types of animation such as text and 3d models. Our designs progressed into a more box shaped design making it less flimsy and more sturdy with the 4 pillars supporting the screen. We then sketched out a visual of how the hologram installation would look like on a lamp post. Considering the pedestrians’ safety, we modified the body of the lamp and removed any sharp edges to avoid possible injuries.

 

User Testing

Using a low-fi prototype, we did a user testing session.The session initially started with only one audience. He was fascinated by how the visuals form and shares his excitement on seeing it being built and functioning in the Bigg Market. Meanwhile, more peers approached the installation to have a better look at the hologram. Many of the reactions were firstly out of curiosity, showing keen interest in the visuals and animation itself.

 

This was exactly how we hope to approach our audiences. By using curiosity to form a couple to small groups, then only will the installation show text information about the old Bigg Market. One of the audience mentioned that it is really interesting to see how such a simple concept could trigger such interest within the pedestrians as audiences. 

 

Profit Opportunities

By using the hologram, the installation proposes to show discounts happening at the site’s restaurants and pubs.

 

This could generate a good fortune for the Bigg Market if promotions are shown in conjunction with events such as festivals and football matches.

https://youtu.be/JsnK4lkgyLY

/The video showcases a low-fi physical prototype that we built.