Researchers paint on 20-foot electronic canvas

Participants: EVL faculty, staff, and students

Institutions: Medill Reports Chicago, Northwestern University


The week of October 25, the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at University of Illinois at Chicago hosted Marcella McCarthy, a graduate student from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, who was doing a practicum for her science writing class. Marcella’s interest is in design, innovation and technology, and she chose to profile the students behind EVL’s latest application, the “20-foot canvas” paint program, developed for its Cyber-Commons’ large tiled display wall with its touch-screen interface. The video and accompanying text story are very well done.

Researchers paint on 20-foot electronic canvas

by Marcella McCarthy, Medill Reports Chicago, Northwestern University

Nov 04, 2010 - JD Pirtle, 35, held a paintbrush up to his chin, and like a traditional painter, contemplated what he was going to paint that day. But he wasn’t using any paint and he wasn’t even using a canvas. Instead, he just walked up to a wall comprised of HD screens. With a flick of the wrist and a light stroke, he began painting a sunflower on the virtual wall.

“I like to call it 20-foot canvas,” said Pirtle, who is earning his masters degree in fine arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the lead artist on the paint project.

Students have built a wall out of 18 HD screens with an astounding number of pixels: 8160 x 2304. A comparable single screen comprises 1920 x 1080 pixels. But wait, it gets better. This summer, a group of five students made the wall touch-enabled and created an application for the iPad that allows more than one person to paint on the virtual wall.

View the entire article and video


Date: November 4, 2010
EVL students test multi-touch paint application on Cyber-Commons - L. Long, EVL

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