Projection Mapping

Spatial Augmented Reality

Imagine that any wall, building floor or doorway could come alive and tell stories. Using projection mapping, many artists, advertisers and industries are already doing it. In this project, students will explore ways in which projection mapping is currently being used and adapt them for journalistic purposes. Students will build and prototype their adaptations.

Projection mapping, also known as video mapping and spatial augmented reality, is a projection technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. These objects may be complex industrial landscapes, such as buildings, small indoor objects or theatrical stages. By using specialized software, a two- or three-dimensional object is spatially mapped on the virtual program which mimics the real environment it is to be projected on. The software can interact with a projector to fit any desired image onto the surface of that object. This technique is used by artists and advertisers alike who can add extra dimensions, optical illusions, and notions of movement onto previously static objects. The video is commonly combined with, or triggered by, audio to create an audio-visual narrative.


Faculty and Staff Leads

Zach Wise

Associate Professor

Emmy winning interactive producer & Associate Professor @NorthwesternU, @KnightLab. Formerly of The New York Times. Creator of TimelineJS & StoryMapJS

Project Details

2017 Fall

Important Questions
  • How do you build a basic projection installation?
  • What types of information or news work best for installations?
  • How much does the location influence the type of information that should be displayed?
  • Can 3D shape play a role in how information flows across a surface?
Sample Milestones
  • Week 1 Explore and catalog current use cases
  • Week 2-4 Explore projection map hardware and software and create a “Hello” world example.
  • Weeks 5-7 User interviews, prototype building and iteration
  • Weeks 7-10 Iteration and installation at a site determined by student research.

Students will build and prototype a projection map at a site on campus that will have news and information presented in an engaging visual experience.