The Cube at Virginia Tech Fosters Exploratory Teaching Practices Via Advanced AV Including New Satellite MLS Projectors from Digital Projection

The iconic “Cube” at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology is designed as an adaptable performance centre and multidisciplinary educational facility for research and experimentation of big data, immersive environments, interactive A/V, and experiential investigation. On the cutting-edge of educational pursuits, it needed to easily accommodate a vast array of state-of-the-art technologies required of the ever-evolving and progressive curriculum. Teaching methods and technologies that are on-trend one day are passe the next. What resonates with staff and students now is all but a dying trend later.

The AV systems driving the Cube, however, ensure that the learning experience is always fresh and relevant, transitioning easily from a venue where art students can explore new digital mediums and scientific studies can incorporate virtual reality. One technological facet that’s helping the Cube push the boundaries of traditional classroom instruction and providing the surrounding communities a unique performance venue is a suite of modularly designed projectors from Digital Projection.

“We chose Digital Projection’s new Satellite MLS projectors specifically for their modular form factor,” says Tanner Upthegrove, Immersive Audio Specialist at the Cube. “Because the light source and the projector head are two separate parts, we were able to get really creative with our visual presentations, reconfiguring and orienting the projector head in different ways or squeezing it into areas that would be impossible for a traditional self-contained projector to fit.”

This flexibility afforded Upthegrove and his fellow immersive specialists to cast moving and immersive imagery on the floor of the Cube for a special engagement then quickly switch the presentation onto the walls. “The Satellite MLS system also gives us the freedom to experiment with different designs, to try out new approaches and to always deliver the types of experiences our faculty needs to keep their curriculum engaging and relevant,” Upthegrove continues.

In addition to adapting seamlessly to highly varied instruction and programs, the one TITAN Satellite MLS and three HIGHlite Satellite MLS projectors specified for the Cube’s recent AV update streamline installation dramatically for the facility’s small AV team. “What used to require a team of four to mount a heavy, big projector can now be accomplished by a single person,” says Cube multimedia designer David Franusich.

“We chose DP’s new Satellite MLS projectors specifically for their modular form factor.” – Tanner Upthegrove, Immersive Audio Specialist at the Cube

Another perk: By combining multiple MLS light sources, the Titan projector head can output a remarkable 30,000 lumens, which is enough to fill an entire 32-by-40-foot wall at the Cube. All this without any noise from the projectors to distract students, staff and visitors from the presentation. Upthegrove and Franusich took advantage of the unique two-piece design of the Satellite modular Laser System system to place the noisy light sources away from the action.

The integration of the TITAN and HIGHlite MLS projectors represents the ongoing evolution of projection technologies at the Cube. Prior to their installation, Digitately Projection’s  original HIGHlite projectors were utilised. “They still performed great, but as an educational facility that’s rooted in technology, the Cube needs to be as current as possible, and that meant moving into 4K,” says Franusich. The revolutionary design of the new MLS line let the Cube AV specialists push the capabilities of digital imagery even further.


Photos courtesy Christina Franusich/Virginia Tech

Satellite Modular Laser System (MLS) offers a small number of simple building blocks that allow users to address a wide range of applications, from single projector installs to complex, multi-channel domes, caves and simulators. Where RGB laser illumination used to be the preserve of only very high-end applications, the Digital Projection Satellite MLS system will make this technology accessible to the wider AV market, at a cost-effective price point.

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