The center hopes the larger display will help people more easily share ideas and build a sense of community in face-to-face settings. That fits in with the center's broad role to support research at MIT to help innovate civic media tools and practices and test them in communities.
The Junkyard Jumbotron can be created using any combination of devices that run a Web browser. Devices can include monitors, smartphones and tablets.
The Junkyard Jumbotron (Source: MIT's Center for Future Civic Media)To create the virtual display, a user goes to the Junkyard Jumbotron creation Website to receive a unique URL. This URL is then entered on all the devices that will be used in the virtual display system. Once the URL is entered, each device will display a visual code.
The next step is to take a photo of all the ensemble of displays exhibiting the codes. The photo must then be e-mailed or uploaded to the creation Website. At this point, software developed by the center analyzes the photo to figure out where all the displays are located.
After this step, any image that the user desires to display is simply e-mailed to the site, and the software automatically slices up that image and places pieces on the individual devices. This forms the larger virtual image. A user can them manipulate the image on any device zooming and panning across devices.
The Center for Future Civic Media is testing the Junkyard Jumbotron with children in other countries. (Source: MIT's Center for Future Civic Media)The center is already using the Jumbotron technology with school kids in Columbia and Paraguay.
The Junkyard Jumbotron software is accessible for free from the center. Simply go to the creation site to get started.