Facial Display at Olympic Park

Thousands of spectators flocked to Sochi, Russia this month for the 2014 Winter Olympic games. One of the most spectacular exhibitions there, however, had nothing to do with sports. A “digital Mount Rushmore” greeted visitors with images of their own faces on a huge morphing wall at the entrance of Olympic Park.

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The monument, over 20 feet tall, is the center of attention as people enter the park. It consist of 11,000 pistons, each acting as an LED-tipped pixel. Visitors got their photos taken at one of seven photo booths stationed throughout the park. A 3D image of each face was was then generated and processed for display on the facade. No one had to worry about missing their much larger than life debut thanks to a QR code, which people were given to scan that let them know when to expect to see their face on the gigantic display. The faces were shown three at a time approximately every 20 seconds and were over 26 feet tall, even larger than the face on the Statue of Liberty. This type of display was chosen for the Sochi games due to the unique ability of the human face to communicate emotion with everyone regardless of language spoken and without the use of text. “The iconography of the face and the expressive potential behind it hasn’t been surpassed,” says Asif Khan, the British designer who conceived of the pavilion for Megafon, one of the games’ sponsors, “and actually, I don’t think it will ever be.”  

*Source: The Weirdest Thing at Sochi? Your Face on a Giant Screen of Morphing Pistons, by Kyle Vanhemert, 2/11/14 http://www.wired.com/design/2014/02/weirdest-thing-sochi-face-giant-morphing-screen/#slide-id-419681 

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