Automated Digital Theater / Cinerama / Planetarium
a concept  by:   Rick Newman /
  Imagine walking into a theater and having a computer generated "Host" presenting a complete interactive show/experience using smoke machines, fans, lasers, flash pots, and a slew of other special effects all being controlled via a computer system.
  Now imagine if an entire theatrical show was completely automated from start to finish. Just push a button, the theater lights would automatically dim, the animated "Host" would appear and walk around on the screen and an entire 30 minute production complete with special effects would all be running by itself via computer control. The show ends, the lights come on and a minimal amount of staff would be required for clean up and resetting for the next show.

Original Design Concept by Rick Newman

    After the science presentation, the "Host" could conduct a mini science themed Game Show with audience participation and give away real prizes ($ certificate to gift shop or cafe).

   If show runs for 30 minutes, then a 10 minute game show, the entire production would last 40 minutes. With time to reset it would be possible to do a show every hour from the time the venue opens until it closes.

    There could have several different science themed shows all programmed in conjunction with the computer generated "Host". He of course would never get tired, get sick, need time off, or ever ask for a raise. The themes could be based on: Stars/Astronomy, Hurricanes, Electricity, etc. It would provide a guest experience that would be compared to Disney and certain World's Fair pavilions with visitors wanting to come back again & again. Kids as well as adults would absolutely love it since there isn't anything like it around.

For more info on the "Host" character, Click Here for R.I.C. (Robotic Informational Consultant)

With the curtains closed it becomes a fully functional stage.

   The theater itself would be an ultra widescreen, tri-screen venue which works by simultaneously projecting images from three synchronized high resolution digital projectors onto a deeply-curved screen with an arc up to 146░. This could partially surround the visitors with a unique theater/planetarium experience without the expense of constructing a full dome saving millions of dollars. It could accommodate 100-400 people and be used for a variety of presentations, movies, lectures, demonstrations, etc.

   The concept is similar to the original "Cinerama" theaters introduced during the 1950s but with some very important differences. There would be 3-4 high-def video projectors used via computer control to create a unique theater experience. The system could show extremely high quality and high definition planetarium type shows and also any large format movie, computer images, video tape, DVD, Blu-Ray disk, etc. that we might want to use. In addition to a regular theatrical PA system and lighting, the theater would be equipped with a high power, digital Dolby 5 channel surround sound system and under seat tactile transducers (see below).

A 1950's Cinerama theater.

    The projectors would be set up in such a way that they could be used to show the output from ANY source, (computer, video, satellite, internet, etc.).  The theater itself would have a complete stage so it to would be a multi-use venue. It could even be rented out for private or corporate events. Because it would not incorporate the "Ant" as in other planetariums, there wouldn't be anything in the middle to block someone's view or get in the way of events. We could also install smoke machines and several tri-color laser systems (less then a few thousand dollars each) and give a hell of a laser show.

The projector placement in the Digi-Theater
(The "Masks" prevent the projectors light from over-lapping from one screen to another).

   Mounted under each theater seat could be a sound Transducer. It is a small device that would enable each and every visitor the ability to feel the natural percussive impact of sounds, from plucked strings to explosive special effects. When used to supplement the normal theater sound system, this structure-vibrating loudspeaker will let guests experience big sound at a lower volume that is safer for their ears. It could easily be incorporated into any show, concert or planetarium event by using a separate digital sound track to control the units. It would give a "Disney" style effect for a very small investment, roughly $100.00 to 200.00 each. I believe it would greatly add to the wow factor and has probably never been done at a science museum before.

    There could even be a digital "Host" conducting a mini science themed Game Show with audience participation and give away real prizes ($ certificate to gift shop or cafe).

  With currently available electronics (projectors, switchers, sound & lighting equipment, lasers) the Digital Theater could be build for a fraction of the cost of a traditional domed planetarium while still giving visitors the kind of experience that they would expect from a world class museum.

Under Seat Tactile Transducer
(Will let visitors Feel  the effects)

   Below is a picture of a similar venue that could be used as a guide for the Digital Theater. I also have included a sketch (above) of how the projectors and a control room monitor (below) could be set up.

How a Cinerama movie looked - VERY adaptable for a Planetarium

Control room monitors for the Digi-Theater

Original Concepts by Rick Newman

Robot Exhibit Mini FX Theater
Virtual Game Show New Now Next  Exhibit
Robot Competitions for All Ages
Robotic Informational Consultant (R.I.C.)

* These are original concepts from Rick Newman / /
They may NOT be used for any reason without the express written consent of Rick Newman.

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