The Siemens Crystal

Interactive Displays Allow Visitors to Touch Cities of the Future
London, UK

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The Crystal is a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens, the global electronics and electrical engineering powerhouse. Located at London’s Royal Victoria Dock, the 21,500-square foot interactive exhibition serves as home to Siemens’ Center of Competence – Cities, a team of multi-disciplinary urban experts, and guides visitors through the urban infrastructure of the future by examining the possibilities for sustainable mobility, building technologies, power and water supplies, and healthcare. Designed and produced by Event Communications, the exhibition features extensive audio-visual systems engineered and installed by Electrosonic.

Touchscreen with RFID tag reader

Visitors receive a RFID-tagged card allowing them to collect “crystals” for each exhibit they visit. They first enter the Forces of Change zone on the Mezzanine level, where an immersive black box theatre uses ten DLP projectors to create a dynamic presentation displaying the challenges of Demographic Change, Urbanisation and Climate Change. Accompanied by a multi-channel soundtrack, the projected images fill a screen that covers an end wall and carpets the floor. Outside the theater, three touchscreen exhibits further explore the challenges facing cities.

Forces of Change zone

After learning the Forces of Change, visitors traverse the other zones to discover Our Urban Future. The Creating Cities zone features the “Cities Icon” crafted from LED panels displaying images received from the control room, and the multi-user “City Game” whose four 24-inch LCD touch terminals are capped by 55-inch repeater displays. The Safe and Sound zone features the “Fire Prevention” exhibit; giant, cut-out lettering on modules spell words related to the security theme, while three interactive terminals enable visitors to modify a big, curved low-resolution LED display of flames with their responses.

"Fire Prevention" exhibit

The Smart Buildings zone is dominated by a cube-shaped space in which three sides display five-meter wide projected images. In front of each, a 40-inch LCD touchscreen invites visitors to create their own sustainable buildings. Another exhibit featuring two touchscreen displays and LED indicators shows what makes the Crystal a sustainable building. The Keep Moving zone presents the role of electrically-powered transport through LCD and interactive displays.

"Enter the City of the Future" show

The Future Life zone is centered on an optimistic panoramic show, “Enter the City of the Future,” which is displayed on a nine-metre curved screen by three DLP projectors with short-throw zoom lenses, and shows how cities could look and operate if ideas presented in the Crystal were to be applied. This final zone also features terminals where visitors can review their tour based on the data on their RFID card.

The Siemens Crystal

Electrosonic provided a show control system that has a comprehensive interface and scheduler for full control of individual exhibits, along with global power up/down facilities to enhance the building’s green energy credentials.