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UITS Research Technologies

Cyberinfrastructure enabling research and creative activities
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IQ-Wall

Background

The IQ-Wall is part of a distributed visualization initiative here at the Indiana University Advanced Visualization Lab. The goal of this initiative is to use commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and open-source software to provide low-cost, advanced visualization resources for the University community and beyond. The IQ name stems from the four qualities: Inexpensive, Interactive, Immersive, and Interface (I-quaded or IQ). Another key quality of any IQ system is its ability to be relatively easily built, installed, and configured in a variety of spaces.

Overview

The IQ-Wall is an AVL design that tiles thin, energy efficient flat-screen monitors into configurations that meet the requirements of the users and the space. These Walls are driven by a single Windows computer. Mounting options can include freestanding, movable carts for smaller Walls, rotatable mounts attached to a wall, or very firm, static mounts attached to a fixed structure. The AVL has integrated several IQ-Walls, but the premier unit is located in the lobby of the CIB and features 24 tiles and nearly 50 million pixels.

Current deployments

  • The Scholars Commons in the Wells Library. (4x4, 16-tile IQ-Wall)
  • The lobby of Cyberinfrastructure Building at IUB. (6x4, 24-tile IQ-Wall)
  • A common room on the first floor of the Informatics West Building. (3x3, 9-tile IQ-Wall)
  • The IUB Network Operations Center within the CIB. (2x6, 12-tile IQ-Wall)
  • The Mathers Museum of World Cultures at IUB. (3x4, 12-tile IQ-Wall)

Suggested user communities and use cases

Digital signage and public relations. Large tiled walls are becoming increasingly common in large, public spaces. Using the large physical area of the display is ideal for generating interest and excitement for viewers. When using an IQ-Wall in this mode, the content can vary dramatically and might feature art, weather, science, news, etc.

Digital Sign

Large audience presentation, viewing, and collaboration. Anytime such a large screen is coupled with an appropriately large physical space, users will eventually want to use it for public presentations. Such presentations might include organizational personnel meetings, VIP public relations and information sharing, or live television event feeds.

Audience

Information and scientific visualization. Due to the extreme resolution capabilities of the IQ-Wall, it is an ideal platform for ultra-high resolution visualization research and experimentation. You won’t find a better platform at IU for seeing the finest details, perhaps still within a large visual context, for your datasets. Because the IQ-Wall uses a standard Windows-based computer, the available software options are vast.

Peng Chen

Viewing Advanced Digital Arts and Media.  This use case blurs the boundary between public relations and general visualization. Tools exist to capture and create ultra-high resolution images and videos. The IQ-Wall gives us an ideal platform to view such media using existing Windows-based, often web-enabled software. Related to simply viewing advanced media, most IQ-Wall are large enough to offer an immersive or more engaging experience through advanced interfaces involving sensors and audio.

Dolinsky Art

Cost

As of early 2013, the total cost for an IQ-Wall can vary dramatically. A 2x2, 4-tile Wall might cost less than $20,000 while our largest 6x4, 24-tile Wall cost closer to $175,000 including some optional components to accommodate a wide array of usage scenarios.

Building an IQ-Wall

The IQ-Wall is an open design. While we will gladly support building, installation, and/or configuration requests for future IQ-Wall deployments within Indiana University, we do not plan to manufacture or install these for groups outside of IU. We would, however, very much like to see additional systems built and a wide network of visualization experts, users, and developers connected and working together to share improvements. We will do our best to answer questions or offer limited consulting for anyone interested in building a Wall.

If you are interested in building your own, please feel free to download the current version of the parts list for your reference. Please note that prices and specifications may differ from ours to yours. The parts list we provide resembles the most sophisticated and recent IQ-Wall built at Indiana University and is meant to get you started toward building your own.

You may contact us if you have questions, need help solving unanticipated problems, or to simply let us know you are building your own.

IQ-Wall parts list (xlsx)

Acknowledgement

If you choose to use any of this information and build your own, please acknowledge and reference the help of the Indiana University Advanced Visualization Lab. The Advanced Visualization Lab is a unit of the Research Technologies division of University Information Technologies Service and is affiliated with the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University.