Nanolumens’ flexible and configurable Nixel Series LED monitors can conform to shapes and curves
by James Careless
Imagine a direct view LED (dvLED) video display system that can be curved and shaped to fit the surfaces, ceilings and floors of dark rides, immersive spaces, visitor centers, museums, science centers, aquariums and zoos. That’s right: it would be a dvLED display system that can be used as a surface treatment virtually anywhere an operator wants to show animated videos and infographics to guests – without the limitations of display systems and rigid projection.
Now consider the creative possibilities for designers and media producers. The ability to use almost any surface in a space as a mobile display system creates exciting options and removes many previous limitations. Additionally, the platform would support multiple visual scenarios for the same ride or attraction as their interiors will display whatever their servers provide.
According to Nanolumens, a maker of custom LED video display systems, these possibilities aren’t fancy; these are facts. And the technology holds so many possibilities for the attractions industry that the company is approaching it as a vertical market.
Nanolumens says its Nixel Series flexible dvLED displays with patented True Curve™ technology can contour around curves and corners and be tailored to conform to uniquely shaped surfaces as well. For designers and operators, the results can be video displays that provide a more seamless and immersive environment and experience. “Using Nanolumens’ flexible dvLED displays, operators can wow their guests with impressive and lasting first impressions in just about any type of venue,” said Arch Nelson, Nanolumens Themed Entertainment/SE Regional Sales Manager. .
True Curve™ Technology
Historically, LED video displays were made by attaching red, green, and blue LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs). This fundamental fact explains why LED screens have been constructed as flat tiles. In cases where they were customized to deal with curves, “this was done by faceting together a series of rigid boards,” Nelson explains. “Basically it was a bunch of flat pieces put together at angles, rather than a true curve.”
In contrast, Nanolumens uses flexible printed circuits constructed from Nixel’s patented flexible building blocks to mount their dvLEDs. “This allows us to build faceted, seamless dvLED displays that can flow around curves and other shapes,” Nelson explains. “You can even use our Nixel Series displays to install them inside domes or around globes: there’s just this great flexibility built into our True Curve technology. This is what sets Nanolumens apart from all other dvLED manufacturers in the industry.
“Nanolumens is known for creating uniquely shaped video displays and attractions,” adds Kurt DeYoung, the company’s chief revenue officer. “Whether it’s curves, angles, arches, columns, or any other complex shape that requires technical video solutions, we do it all.”
“As a result, you can install our Nixel Series dvLED displays in fairly tight spaces,” concludes Dan Rossborough, Director of Strategic Projects at Nanolumens. “That’s just not true for projector systems that eat away at space to house hardware, or even flat screens that compromise curves when they come off the wall. Our Nixel Series screens are so thin – just 4 inches – and flexible that they are real surface treatments. They are simply the best way to deliver videos and graphics to guests in the least obtrusive and most efficient way. And the room they don’t consume gives operators more space to spend on improving the customer experience, rather than allowances for projectors.
Because these displays can be easily updated, the platform facilitates content and theme changes for seasonal and holiday events and other special programs. The same displays could also be used to entirely refresh an existing ride/attraction with new visual content, or to provide guests with a number of visual scenarios that change each time they enter the space, supporting scenarios alternative or non-linear storytelling.
“By using flexible video displays, a single ride/attraction can now tell many stories using Nixel Series displays while minimizing the capital expenditure to make it happen. This should be an especially welcome benefit at a time when parks and attractions are financially constrained due to the fallout from the pandemic, but must provide new experiences by welcoming customers back,” Nelson says.
For designers, producers and integrators
By creating flexible dvLED displays that take up minimal space in a room while conforming to shapes and surfaces, Nanolumens appears to have freed designers and producers from a number of creative constraints while opening up new possibilities. Nanolumens Nixel Series displays are like video canvases, waiting for their brush strokes.
According to Nanolumens, these flexible video backdrops could be used to provide the scenic setting for a ride/attraction, to tell a story with moving images, to guide guests throughout the space and even to reinforce branding. depending on the imagery the designer chooses to put. on walls (and ceilings, and even floors). Flexible displays can also interface seamlessly with an operator’s existing video assets, network/routing infrastructure, and video and graphics package libraries, maximizing the value of existing content and supporting the creation of new content.
Because this can be a significant paradigm shift for designers, producers and integrators, Nanolumens provides the support and information needed to help them adapt to this new way of creating AV environments and telling stories in these environments.
“We have a team here called the Special Projects Group,” says DeYoung. “This team is made up of Nanolumens designers who are here to work with our customers, whether end users or integrators, to help them get the most out of our flexible displays and bring their creative visions to life.” It encourages the inclusion of the Nanolumens special projects group in the early stages of the design process.
An end-to-end approach
The flexibility of Nanolumens dvLED Nixel series screens is only one aspect of this technology. According to the company, the entire Nixel display system has been designed to deliver reliable, color-accurate and consistent video/graphics performance from the first minute a Nixel-series display is turned on.
That’s why Nanolumens’ Nixel series — and indeed all of its displays — offer fine-tuned color accuracy and high-resolution images to maximize picture quality, DeYoung says. “Advanced processing and control solutions built into our displays enable true-to-life color accuracy at all times,” he says. “Our seamless technology delivers edge-to-edge brilliance that immerses guests in magical new ways, with stunning dvLED visuals that elevate guest experiences using infinite pixel canvases.”
Nanolumens’ Nixel Series displays are also designed to provide practical benefits to operators, such as minimal maintenance beyond screen cleaning/dust removal and long-term reliability. “All of our products come with a standard six-year warranty that covers all components down to the individual pixel,” Nelson said. “Spare parts are included in all of our applications at no additional cost, and we’re so confident in our displays that our six-year warranty can be extended to 10 years.” He added that Nanolumens’ Nixel Series displays can operate at lower light levels if needed, allowing operators to stay within their energy budget and tightly control their energy costs.
The takeaway: Nixel Series flexible displays manufactured by Nanolumens are intended to be financially smart to buy and operate, and promotional to use to attract and retain paying customers. That’s why these displays’ use of True Curve technology is just one part of their overall story, and one of the many benefits the company hopes to deliver to theme park and amusement park operators.
The choice of the best operators
In the attractions industry, NDAs are a fact of life, and Nelson is reticent when it comes to revealing which operators use these unique screens. However, he clarifies that “we work with the biggest amusement park companies in the world, which means that they trust us. We made unique apps for them. And we did it while meeting all of their security specifications, which can be very strict. That’s why you’ll see Nanolumens’ Nixel Series displays curving around the walls and ceilings of the world’s top rides/attractions and popping up in more places with each passing week,” Nelson says.