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Wowing Customers with Motion Control and an Interactive Display

Aug
17
by Eric Rice

When Zappos.com needed an interactive display for their traveling Friends with Benefits Road Show, they turned to the creative design experts at VT Pro Design to answer the call. The road show is a way for the online retailer to reach out to its customer base and do good for the community. At the center of the show sits a large, interactive display made by VT Pro Design and powered by StepSERVO™ Integrated Motors.

Display on siteTo create the interactive display VT Pro Design turned a shipping container into a walkable space complete with display cases for Zappos’ retail items, a series of interactive touchscreens, and an entire wall of motion controlled panels. The panels are designed to look like Zappos shipping cartons and automatically move inward and outward, creating a “living wall” effect to draw customers’ attention.

Each panel in the wall is driven by an SSM23 StepSERVO integrated motor coupled to a ballscrew linear actuator. The 98 motors and actuators are installed neatly behind a clear wall so that customers and tour revelers can witness the inner workings of the orchestrated motion firsthand. At the start of the project, Harry Souders, head of engineering at VT Pro Design, was looking for a motor solution with three key ingredients:

  • A compact, integrated design to eliminate panel space and simplify wiring
  • Closed loop performance to always ensure accurate positioning
  • A standard Ethernet connection (RJ-45) to easily connect the axes back to the master PC-based controller

Actuators during buildThe SSM23 StepSERVO integrated motors filled these requirements, while their ability to stream commands was an additional benefit. Commenting on the solution, Harry said, “by streaming position commands from the main PC to the 98 integrated motors over Ethernet, we greatly simplified the system architecture. It allowed us to focus on the overall effect of the moving wall without doing a lot detailed motion programming at each axis. The SCL command set was just what we needed.”

Harry and his team also appreciated the wide selection of StepSERVO integrated motors on applied-motion.com, complete with pricing and availability information which made finding the right motor to fit the budget and ordering engineering samples easy compared to other manufacturers. To catch a glimpse of the final display in action, check out this great video produced by VT Pro Design.

For more information on VT Pro Design check out their website, vtprodesign.com. They develop turn-key, creative design solutions for an impressive and growing list of clients in the live entertainment and music industries. With a focus on the latest technology and techniques, VT Pro Design offers tailored solutions in creative design, advanced video, fabrication, engineering, projection mapping, interactive technology, and more.

To learn more about the Zappos Friends with Benefits Road Show and to vote your city onto the route, visit zappos.com/roadshow.

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