Hong Kong’s City Gallery Uses Multitouch Technology to Bring a Large Exhibit to Life

Despite its reputation as one of the most fast-moving economies in the world, much planning goes into the development of Hong Kong’s densely populated land space. The City Gallery, which is managed by the planning department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, showcases the vision of the region’s planning projects, both past and present. It also acts as a platform on which to engage and inform the public about the region’s sustainable future.

multitouch technology digital signage

One of the key exhibits at the gallery is a 110” wide interactive rolling map, which allows visitors to see how the coastline and skyline of the city have changed since the 1840s. Selecting highlighted areas on the map triggers fun audiovisual animations explaining why certain streets were given their names.

Today, for example, Ship Street is nowhere near the harbour. However, during the 19th century, this area was on the harbour front and was used as a busy supply stop for foreign commercial vessels bound for mainland China. The deep harbour berth allowed for the docking of large vessels. Over the years, the surrounding area has undergone significant land reclamation that has changed the coastline, and, as a result, the street is far from the sea.

The HKSAR planning department engaged with local professional audio and visual specialists Wide Smart Technology, who created the design concept for the interactive exhibit. For the surface of the exhibit, the company designed a piece of 110” tempered glass under which two 55” displays mounted end to end showcase the content. Wide Smart has collaborated with solution consultants and professional AV network designers for more than a decade to provide top-class services on AV solutions in Hong Kong. For this project, the company partnered with ASPIS Innovation Solutions, a business with many years of experience developing various interactive solutions.

ASPIS has been the Hong Kong distributor for UK-based Zytronic for several years and was the natural choice to provide the large multitouch sensor. At the heart of Zytronic’s offering is the patented projected capacitive technology (PCT™ and MPCT™) that offers the ultimate touch solution for applications located in public areas. For this prestigious project, ASPIS proposed using two pieces of 55” ZyFilm® multitouch flexible foils, which were manufactured at Zytronic’s facility in the UK and cost-effectively transported to Hong Kong rolled into cardboard tubes.

ASPIS laminated the two pieces of ZyFilm® to the back of the locally sourced glass. There is just an 8mm gap between the two adjacent touch sensors and, by using Zytronic’s ZXY500™ multitouch controller, the company had the flexibility to calibrate them onsite. The controllers deliver millisecond fast, accurate touch and gesture response and support up to 100 simultaneous touch points, making it ideal for a large, multiuser installation like this, as several members of the public can stand side-by-side interacting with the touchscreen.

After the installation was complete, a spokesperson for the Government of the HKSAR Planning Department said: “Through the interactive multitouch exhibit, we offer visitors to our City Gallery a platform that engages and informs them of our exciting plans for a sustainable urban future. We can also provide insight into how much detailed planning and construction work has occurred in the past.”