Projects: A Tale Of Two Projected Cars

July 10, 2014 by Dave Haynes


There have been a couple of demo projects out recently that have really pushed some new thinking about how motor vehicles could be marketed in showrooms or, possibly more to the point, in places away from car-filled showrooms.

Christie Digital demo’d projection mapping on the small surface of a car of a scale model car last year at Infocomm, and came back last month to the 2014 show with a new spin on it that amped up both the interactivity and the visuals.

This time they used a scale model Corvette painted in solid white and used projections mapped down to the pixel to transform how the car looked based on what users designed via a touchscreen.. They could use different color schemes and car features, such as rims, and set the car in different scenes, with MicroTiles as the backdrop.

To get to that level of detail, and set that backdrop, takes speciality software, MicroTiles and three DLP projectors. So this is not something the average Kia dealer in Ohio is going to buy and install. But for flagship stores in dense urban areas – that maybe can’t get the space for a proper dealership facility – this would be a powerful marketing tool.

Then on the flip side there’s start-up Perch Interactive, which was showing a rudimentary car designer projection idea at DSE in 2013. The company now has a demo video out for something much slicker, and pretty compelling. It uses one overhead projector, pointed down at a white surface, and uses optical sensors to turn that table into an interactive surface.

What I like is the attention to the usability and creative. You can see how the color bleeds off the scale model car surface, owing to one projector and not attempt to map down to the pixel like Christie. But in this iteration, I don’t think that’s an issue.

The challenge for Perch, as with anywhere, is projection is always battling light, and retail auto almost always has lots and lots of big windows that pour in light.

Still, in the right setting, I like.

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