Immersive Scholar use cases: The Glider distributed display platform

Submitted by Brown University on Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:51


As described in a previous post, the Glider project seeks to address a common problem: institutions buy expensive display walls, only to find that there are few out-of-the-box applications that immediately serve to demonstrate their value.

Glider seeks to address this problem by allowing users with a wide range of technical skills to create custom, novel applications for display walls.

Below, we explore five scenarios which typify the use cases we have in mind for Glider. Each employs different combinations of the system’s four core functions: snapping content to display wall geometries; changing elements over time; assigning content to multiple displays; and passing messages between display agents.

Scenario 1: Interactive Digital Exhibit

A library has an exhibition space with multiple monitors around the room as well as a touch table.

A post-doc fellow at the Center for Public Humanities uses Glider to create a “pop up exhibit” that can be mounted in spaces with relatively little setup effort. The exhibit is a playful exploration of the stock imagery available to printers in type specimen books from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Attendees use a touch table to move between two modes: assigning stock images to a simulated newspaper article displayed on the display wall, and displaying large numbers of images for casual perusal.

Glider handles the transition between modes, the message-passing between the table and the wall, and the layout.

Scenario 2: Interactive Classroom

An English Professor likes to teach using participatory, collaborative methods in a room with a display wall. The activity is put together beforehand as a Glider document, and students are given the URL before class starts.

After some introductory content is presented on the display wall, students break out into groups, each of which receives a separate image to analyze — the image appears on their mobile devices automatically, followed by a google doc for their group into which they type their responses.

Once the groups are complete, the professor reveals the shared documents on the display wall, arranged in a side-by-side configuration that lines up neatly with the bezel grid.

Scenario 3: Participatory Presentation

A lecturer is delivering a public presentation in a room equipped with a display wall. Audience members are invited to point their devices to a URL which is a Glider document for the presentation.

As the lecturer advances through their presentation, supplementary materials simultaneously appear on the audience’s devices. At some point, a survey form appears and the audience is invited to respond to a question — and the results are subsequently shown on the display wall.

Scenario 4: Digital Repository Viewer

A library wants to build a custom interactive application for their display wall that will serve as a front-end to a collection housed in its digital repository. Browsers use a faceting interface on their phones (or on the touch kiosk located by the wall) and see the search result sets appear on the wall.

This library is lucky to have a web developer, who uses Glider as a development platform — Glider’s built-in components can do some of what the app requires, but there are several parts that are custom-built within the VueJS-based component framework.

The mobile interface is built outside of Glider, but interacts through the Glider-based wall display via Glider’s messaging module.

Scenario 5: Virtual Art Gallery

A Professor who works with electronic literature wants to showcase his students’ work on public monitors throughout a campus.

A Glider presentation is set up to cycle through the works on a timer; passers-by can open a URL on their phone browsers and receive supplemental information about the works on display that is synchronized with the public monitors.

These are not hypothetical scenarios

The interactive Digital Exhibit and Classroom are both pilots projects being developed alongside of the Glider tool itself. The participatory presentation was given to a public audience using an early Glider prototype. The Digital Repository Viewer is a collaboration with the Brown University Herbarium that potentially could be re-implemented using Glider as a platform.

Our hope is that using the platform before and during development of the platform will lead to improvements that will ultimately benefit content authors. There is nothing like eating one’s own dog food, even while it’s still on the stove ...

As of November 2018, development of Glider is well under way, and we are hoping to complete both our pilots by end of Spring semester, 2019. As always, please feel free to reach out if you’re curious to hear more details or pass along suggestions: patrick_rashleigh@brown.edu or see our project website.

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