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The View: Video Display Hardware and Software
Video Monitors and Media Players for field or studio use (all display technologies).


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Old February 22nd, 2010, 08:28 AM   #1
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Sensor/Pressure Matt Activation to Play Video?

I think this is the right section to ask this - I did a search but could not find any information so here goes.

I have a client that I'm producing a corporate video for that will play in their lobby area, probably on a stand alone display unit (that I'm also manufacturing/supplying - I pretty skilled at carpentry/furniture making - just as well!). The display unit will contain a 1080p flat screen TV linked to a DVD player (or WDTV media player & HDD - not sure yet). Alternatively, it could contain a PC and a big screen - but that seems overkill. The client would like the display unit to start playing the video when any visitor enters the lobby (which is mostly unattended - they fired the receptionist long ago to save money I suspect!). I'm awaiting a more detailed brief from the company but I know they are interested in this kind of idea, i.e. play started by say a pressure matt or maybe a PIR (infrared sensor) when visitors arrive. I've seen this kind of idea in department stores for sales videos, museums for information videos etc. - so I know it's possible - but I've never done this before.

(The low tech idea would of course just be to put a number of clones of the film on a DVD with some all black gaps in between and loop play the whole thing - but I think this client want's something more sophisticated).

Thanking you in advance for any information, suggestions, ideas etc. regarding the devices and routes I might investigate to do this (Note: no hardware has been purchased yet as the project is just starting).
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 04:28 PM   #2
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Hi Andy..................

long time, no speak, er, type.............

I've seen that sort of thing in our solicitors here in Dunedin (big NZ wide firm).

A video giving brief details of each of their staff, area of expertise and location intesperesed with the usual gob smacking views of Otago in general and Dunedin in particular.

As there really is no start or stop point, it does exactly what you thought of with the loop replay of a DVD.

There's no audio (which stops the receptionists going demented) and if you're waiting in reception you catch what you catch.

Visitors waiting for appointments don't usually spend a great deal of time in reception, so if the story is going to be a long one, it's not a good idea.

Give some thought to killing the audio, as frequent visitors will also go crackers and it interferes with converstions, which means you shoot for stunning visuals with overlaid text.

The 46" wide screen is bolted to the wall directly opposite the reception waiting area and very effective, if somewhat distracting if you're trying to have a conversation (even without audio!).

Interested to hear how your system pans out.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 22nd, 2010 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Blooper.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 06:37 AM   #3
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Thanks Chris - some good thoughts there.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 08:55 AM   #4
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I used to do a lot of low budget museum kiosk stuff back in texas. One of the things i "invented" was a remote where i had wire contacts for the various navigation buttons external so you could hook up just about any trigger to close the gap for the play/pause/up/down/menu buttons for a standard dvd player. It was patent pending when i left. never checked to see if it won the patent. heh.

Anyways, I don't think they manufacture the remote any longer, but the cheap option for what you can do is buy some various universal remotes and find one that has solder pads on the circuit (or a big enough IC that you can solder to the legs. most these days are a tiny IC buried in a blob of epoxy with leads so fine you cant touch them, much less solder). If you can get a lead soldered to the two legs that control the "enter" button, you can short those with just about any kind of "normally open" alarm sensor. Floor pad, infrared, door contact sensor, beam break, whatever. I used to rig custom elevator panels to the remotes that came with sony dvd players (before they went to the epoxy blob).

Sounds dicey, but it worked for me. I have some kiosks using this "hack" that have been running for 10 years straight at the library of congress.

I suggested the "enter" button vs "play" because many dvd players ignore the enter button if it triggers once a movie starts playing. The play button often brings up the big "play" icon in the corner even if its already playing. It uses up a bit more battery, but if you have, say, a motion sensor tied to the remote when people walk around during the movie its just like having your 2 year old son mashing and holding the button on the remote down. As long as the dvd player doesn't mind, i didnt. In some cases I'd wire the remote using a 3v power supply, other times for low use places, i'd just change the batteries every 6 months.

Just a thought. I'm sure there is a more sophisticated solution... Now that I'm in New Zealand, i bet i could rig something up using #8 fencing wire. hmm.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 11:31 AM   #5
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Brilliant info Andrew....thanks! Please accept a cyber beer in lieu of a patent royalty payment?!?! ;-)
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