Commissioned by the art collective Greyworld, this piece of software enables staff at the London Stock Exchange to schedule text to be displayed on Greyworld's kinetic sculpture situated in the atrium of the stock exchange.
The sculpture spans the entire eight stories of the atrium. Seven hundred and twenty nine balls travel up and down a square grid of wires that reach up from the floor of the atrium all the way to the roof, over eight floors above. The balls can be individually controlled and can be organised to display simple text announcements ( for a more detailed description of the sculpture itself along with several movies see the greyworld site ).
What was required was a calendar interface. My aim was to devise a simple, intuitive but elegant interface that echoed the discrete, granular nature of the sculpture.
With this in mind the visual display is limited to just one type of object - a small black pixel - hundreds of these pixels fly around the screen and spring into place to form a horizontal dot matrix text display of the year, month, day, time and message currently being edited.
To the left of the message, running vertically up the screen the schedule for that day is represented with any existing scheduled announcements represented by a cross. Scheduled announcements can be viewed by changing the calendar to the date and time in question.
While the calendar is set to today the current time is displayed to the left of the schedule display - as time passes the current time display travels vertically to align alongside the correct point on the schedule display. The user is prevented from scrolling past the current time display, limiting them to time slots ahead of the current time.
The user is able to alter the date or time either by using the cursor keys or by typing the year, month, day or time directly. The calendar element in focus is indicated by a simple black backing under that element, this indicates the element that will change in response to keyboard entry.
The calendar element in focus can be changed manually by using the left and right cursor keys but changes automatically as the user types in the date and time of their choice.
Once the user has selected the desired date and time for their message they can then input the message and then press another key to send it to the sculpture control computer where it is stored ready for display at the scheduled time.
After a set period the interface screen saver mode is triggered. The screen turns black and the pixel objects currently being used in the calendar display turn white and fly off to settle in random lines around the screen. while in screen saver mode the line position is changed periodically sending the pixel objects flying to the new position.
For security, to exit the screen saver mode the correct password must be entered. The password request and the password itself are again both made up of the same pixel objects and once the correct password is entered the screen changes back to white and the pixel objects turn back to black as they spring into their calendar positions.
For a visual walk through of the functionality see the screen shots here.