Form and Technology Intro Class

Tuesday evening I participated in the kickoff of the Form and Technology workshop at the Industrial Design department at the Pratt Institute under Scott VanderVoort and department chair Steve Diskin. The goal of Form and Technology is to intersect the latest Planar products which “unleash architectural expression” with the fresh creativity of Pratt’s design students and thought leaders. My goal for the class introduction was to impart a solid technical understanding of Planar products, and impart our vision of using video as a building material. We can’t wait to see the ideas that this class will inspire!

After I gave a quick overview of Planar, we listened to Jennifer Davis, VP of Marketing (virtually by video), as she gave teasers to the workshop, including: Planar Mosaic, Clarity Matrix, and Planar LookThru product lines. In her contagiously enthusiastic way, Jennifer touched briefly on the products themselves, and emphasized the key markets to focus on: corporate, health care, hospitality, and retail. Then I took the students through a more detailed technical overview of Planar products covering the issues associated with design, install, operation, and, importantly, content. For the latter point, Scott exhorted (and I couldn’t agree more) the students to gain some basic skills in content development, and to constantly have content ideas in the background as they consider physical designs with our products.

For hands on work, Scott had previously assembled a mockup display case using an early sample of our 32" Planar LookThru open frame design. I had also brought a Salvador tile from the Planar Mosaic family, and Clarity Matrix MX46 2x2 wall which the students were familiar with. I was able to take the Salvador tile apart and explain the basics of LCD technology, and the principles behind both the Planar Mosaic, and Clarity Matrix displays, and also the transparent operation of the Planar LookThru. This “show and tell” hardware brought a lot of the concepts from my PowerPoint to concrete reality as we played with them.

Clearly these are top-notch students, and they connected instantly with the products and core technology—evidenced by the peppering of spot-on questions they hit me with. They asked about different sizes, shapes, cost, power, content management, other technologies, reliability, interactivity, social media, and more. I could almost see the gears turning in their minds as they were envisioning applications for the technology.

It was exciting and fun to engage with the Pratt team, and clearly we are planting seeds in this coming generation of designers. I look forward to what sprouts…and thanks much to Scott and Steve at Pratt for giving us this opportunity!

Benjamin Clifton
VP of Technology