How IXDS helped HERE make the Future Mobility Visualizer
HERE 360, January 2017
This article was originally published on the HERE blog, written by Philip Barker from HERE's editorial team. Philip interviewed two of the IXDS team members who worked on the project: Engineer Felix Lange, and Creative Technologist Tank Thunderbird, to discuss more about our collaboration that led to the creation of the HERE Future Mobility Visualiser—an interactive tabletop that illustrates a city's mobility trends.
This year’s CES played host to a world of innovation, and it gave us the chance to show off the HERE Future Mobility Visualizer in all its glory. Creating this demonstration took a lot of skill, knowledge and hard work, which is why we asked the experts at design studio IXDS to help design and build it.
The interactive tabletop is capable of using HERE services to illustrate different trends within a city. It can make predictions about mobility in the future, and uses a gorgeous 4K screen to display the simulations. The table has a playful interface, using physical tokens to set up different road transport situations – you can read all about it here.
How did it all come about though? Tank Thunderbird, a technical specialist at IXDS, explains:
“In the beginning when we spoke to the HERE team it became clear that a main priority for the table was to show off the HERE data. So we needed to be very flexible in order to tell different stories around the interfaces we designed.”
The HERE team had spotted a previous tabletop demonstration from IXDS, and approached them in a bid to create something similarly unique.
“The last demonstrator was more about intermodal mobility in urban environments,” says Felix Lange, IXDS’ Lead Developer on the project, “while this one is more about the services that HERE can provide and how those services can change mobility.”
“The table can show a lot of different scenarios, from a macro simulation showing the overall traffic in Berlin, to a deeper view that looks at different personas, highlighting individual journeys through the city with different needs and behaviours. We not only showed data from 2016, but we also highlighted different predictions, displaying what it’s likely to look like in 2020 and 2030.”
It was the inclusion of the physical tokens that presented one of the largest challenge to create the Future Mobility Visualiser. Felix points out that it’s unusual to get token tracking alongside a huge 4K display. But it was well worth the effort.
“Having that physical interaction and the ability to interact on a digital product is really important,” says Felix. “It’s really inviting for the audience to be able to simply grab the tokens and influence the simulation in a playful, engaging way.”
That flexibility has resulted in a truly unique product, and Felix proudly points out that it’s the only product of its kind out there with this sort of interaction. Tank is also particularly happy with the interface, and with the finished design itself:
“The design of the table is particularly striking,” says Tank, “the HERE team made it very clear how important it was that we provide an interesting haptic experience capable of drawing attention and engaging an audience. It’s one of my favourite physical objects that I’ve had the chance to work on at IXDS.”
“Seeing the Future Mobility Visualiser at CES was fantastic. Having the flexibility to tell new stories to different industries and audiences is really powerful, with the ability to highlight different scenarios depending on which services you want to promote.”