Obscura Lights Up Hard Rock Cafe’s Gigantic Rock Wall with Nvidia Quadro Plex 2200 D2 Supported by PNY
January 11, 2010

Obscura Lights Up Hard Rock Cafe’s Gigantic Rock Wall with Nvidia Quadro Plex 2200 D2 Supported by PNY

Parsippany, N.J. - Hard Rock Cafe developed a new and exciting way for visitors to come and interact with its signature rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia collection: a massive, 18 foot wide by 4 foot high, super HD, multi-user, multi-touch, interactive video wall. Hard Rock technology director Joe Tenczar, realizing that he needed something extraordinary, turned to Obscura Digital, the San Francisco-based company known for creating amazing visualization projects.
Obscura’s credit list includes the first ever, immersive symphony experience for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and the 60-foot dome used to launch the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Dubai. Based on its knowledge of designing large power walls, the development team knew that in order to create a video wall that would provide the unique customer experience the Hard Rock Cafe was looking for, it would require the latest ground-breaking graphics technology. As a result, Obscura chose to power the project with the Nvidia Quadro Plex 2200 D2, a multi-GPU visual computing system supported by PNY Technologies.

The challenges for Obscura were numerous. For example the now famous Rock Wall had to provide a simultaneous useable form factor for up to six guests, It was a huge task to seamlessly blend a single application over the 18-foot wide by 4-foot high touch-wall at very high resolution. According to Obscura Digital CEO Patrick Connolly, “There were over 1,000 items of memorabilia, each averaging 8 mega pixels in size, a staggering amount of data. We had to ensure that the display was highly interactive, fluid and flawless, with absolutely no stutters. The Quadro Plex D2 with 8 GB onboard memory allowed us to cache massive amounts of data, making the video wall totally interactive. No other product on the market today could have driven this wall.”

The hardware is driven by Obscura’s proprietary software, FireFrames, which was developed to take advantage of the Quadro Plex GPUs. “We needed low latency and intense processing power to deliver the real-time vibrant graphics required. The Quadro Plex D2 delivers that,” said Niklas Lundback, chief technology officer for Obscura Digital. Obscura also used the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 by PNY graphics board to run the graphics accelerated tracking capabilities of the Rock Wall. Over one hundred tracking points can be monitored at one time, allowing customers to touch any image and drag the graphics around, select and open windows, play videos, and zoom in on items of interest. “With an image resolution upwards of 16 megapixels, it’s the next best thing to holding the item yourself,” says Connolly. Audio is also a critical component to the whole user experience and Obscura worked closely with TechnoMedia Solutions to provide true isolated sound for each user.

The Hard Rock Café Rock Wall has received world acclaim: “It was a huge success; everyone’s really excited about it. Microsoft picked up on it, and a small version of the Rock Wall was one of the featured projects Steve Ballmer demonstrated at the Windows 7 launch,” says Connolly.

“Obscura is always pushing the frontiers of visualization technology. They are one of the first companies to have taken advantage of the multi-GPU capabilities of the Quadro Plex D2 and the resulting Rock Wall is truly a stunning visualization experience unlike any other,” notes Jeff Medeiros, director of marketing, PNY Technologies. “We are also excited that CES show visitors will have a chance to see Nvidia Quadro graphics solutions in action at the new Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas.”