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Intus' Tycho Magnetic Anomaly

The name of this project, Tycho Magnetic Anomaly, refers to the strong magnetic field found somewhere in the lunar crater Tycho by an American scientific satellite. The finding made in 1999 raised an enigma of origin. Excavation at the site unveiled the four-million-year-old black monolith which was buried 20 feet below the lunar surface. Given its artificial construction - its dimensions are in the precise ratio of 1:4:9 - astronauts believe it was determined by non-human intelligence. More specifically, aliens. Intus is an Interactive Studio that gives life to immersive experiences, visual installations, and interactive systems. Along with technologies and creativity, Intus seeks to reinvent the capacities of astonishment and human connection. Intus used this study of outer space, and its relationship with human beings, as inspiration to create an interactive installation at Mutek MX 2018. The installation was a tribute to Arthur C. Clark, a science fiction writer, futurist, inventor and undersea explorer who wrote a series of novels, ‘Odyssey in Space’. Intus created an interactive monolith to act as a spatial portal. An imposing installation, standing 80 inches wide, 160 inches high and 40 inches deep that offered an immersive experience. It allowed visitors to interact with generative art. Its sensors sought to move them to a sequence of spaces that exceeded the dimensions and elevated them to higher instances. The minimalism of the piece made this installation unique.

 Three key areas were involved to develop this installation: art, development and the technical support team.  

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Challenges  

Intus’ first challenge was to conceptualise spaces that graphically evoke other dimensions. As well as interesting interactions that complemented the usability of a flat surface as a portal. Thinking about the user and interactive design, Intus developed content that was visually mesmerising in order to encourage people to participate. This created a social experience of integration that brought to life the apparition of the monolith in the film Odyssey in space.  

To achieve this, Intus investigated which sensors would create an active surface. The experience required sizeable touchpoints and software that provided the power and graphic detail to create this dynamic in real-time, with the best possible quality. Intus arrived at Notch VFX combined with a proximity laser scanner. 

The biggest challenge the team faced was the connection between computers – connecting Touchdesigner and Notch – and the use and calibration of the laser scanner. This was all to ensure the interaction was captivating and offered real-time interactivity, Intus needed to ensure coordinates could be easily understood and passed from one software to another. Intus worked to understand and synchronise communication between user touches and the response point. From here the team was able to operate the technologies in real-time alongside LED screens. 

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The members of the team:  

  • Gilberto Castro – director & co-founder 
  • Josue Ruvalcaba – lead developer 
  • Aldo Prado – interactive art director 
  • Omar Castillo – developer 
  • Hector Luna – technical support director 

The rider: 

  • 2 LED screens 3 mm composed from LED modules that give us a total of 2 x 4 meters 
  • 1 video processor for led display 
  • 1 rigging and screen hang points 
  • 2 CPU RTX 2080 
  • 1 software licensing 
  • 2 range finder laser scanners 
  • 1 laser 5w 
  • + wiring   

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