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Media installation on automobility - interactive visualizations powered by unity. Hosoya Schaefer Architects, Zürich, teamed up with Shiftcontrol, Copenhagen, and Büro Destruct, Bern, to create a media installation on automobility for Autostadt Wolfsburg, a subsidiary of Volkswagen.

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2006-11-20 / DE

Autostadt (VW)





This article presents the project from the perspective of base.io
Please see the writeup by HosoyaSchaefer for an official presentation.

The Mobiglobe project is a public-facing research platform hosted by, and developed for, the Volkswagen communication platform Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany, on the theme of Mobility. Ranging in scope from Economy, over Space and Resources to Sustainability and Culture, the research maps historical development and evolution, identifies limitations, trajectories and frontiers, and shows practical solutions to a future sustainable mobility through interviews with visionary thinkers.

Powered entierly by data, the 48 topics are presented to the user as interactive 3D visualizations, inviting to deep exploration (full source listing is provided), but also catering to more playful investigations.

A ordering principle of Scale is used throughout. A topic like "Oil" can thereby be explored on the Car-scale (showing how Oil is a key requirement of the Car, not only in the engine but also plastics etc.), the Region-scale (where a Map of Europe shows the extent of the Oil-pipelines fueling the region from far-away sources), the Global-scale (where the mismatch betwen oil-consumption and oil-resources becomes clear) and finally the Time-scale (where the "oil peak" concept is discussed.)

1200: Oil

In its first iteration, the project was designed as 4 interactive stations, providing in-depth knowledge to a 6-head film depicting "experienced mobility" from selected cities. These stations was designed toward a heads-up / control room type interaction model, where three touchscreens formed a navigation panel wich controled the content on a 60" wall-mounted display.


During 2012 three additional user-experience formats where added to the installation:

  • a gesture-controlled interactive wall, dubbed MobiSpace,
  • a iPad delivered "lean back" format allowing the Autostadt visitor to engage with the content from the comfort of a ball-chair with embedded speakers,
  • and a single-screen version enabling the platform to be deployed in not-so-specialized setups.

The MobiChairs, iPad and MobiSpheres (Photo: CHRB)

The MobiSpace (Photo: CHRB)

Detail from the MobiSphere (Photo: CHRB)

The Mobiglobe visualizations are powered by the (Danish) Unity Game engine, and has since its inception in 2006 pioneered the use of game-technology in a non-game context.
This work was recognized by Apple and honored with a apple.com/pro profile explaining production of the project. (The /pro section is no longer active)

The Mobiglobe project was initiated by Markus Schaefer from the Swiss architecture company Hosoya Schaefer Architects who are responsible for creative direction, content production, art direction and coordination of a large multi-disciplinary team. Jørgen Skogmo (Norwegian) and Patrik Svensson (Swedish) from the Danish design studio shiftcontrol realized the first version of the interactive application. In 2012 Jørgen founded base.io and invited Unity Studios (Aarhus, Denmark) to join the production team and strengthen the technical foundations of the project.

Project Timeline

2005 : Project kickoff. Core-team: Markus Shaefer, Jørgen Skogmo
2005 : Jørgen spends a week in Shanghai with Joachim Ante and David Helgasson. Unity is selected for the project platform.
2006 : Production start: Isabelle Bentz and Patrik Svensson joins the team.
20061120 : Installation opens, version 1.0
2007 : Project featured on visualcomplexity.com
2007 : Apple.com releases two-page feature on shiftcontrol, with emphasis on the use of the Unity game-engine for the Mobiglobe project apple.com/pro (now offline) (Available through wayback-machine)
2007 : The multi-format expansion strategy of Mobiglobe agreed. 'Mobiglobe' becomes brand identifier, the interactive stations renamed to 'Mobiglobe Facts'.
20071201 : Mobiglobe 2.0 released, with a 6-screen film installation featuring interviews with mobility and sustainability 'visionaries' backed by 4 new stations running the Mobiglobe Visions (1.0) software. Mobiglobe 2.0 released with an extensive content update.
2011 : Content-update released (Produced by CIID, Team: Elena Gianni, Mikhail Akopyan)
2012 : Unity Studios joins the team as (Software) Developers.
2013 : Mobiglobe 3.0 released, with a completely rewritten codebase, opening of the MobiSpace, MobiSphere and Mobi-iPad formats. (Team: Lucas Krupp, Christoph Frei, Asger Hoedt, Anders Ejlertsen, Mads Bøgeskov, Marija Blagojevic, Esther Reinhardt)
2013 : Mobiglobe wins the Red-Dot Communication Grand Prix award.

Thanks to Uthelm Bechtel for his on-site support and systems integration, InformationsTeknik for assistance during hardware research and Art+Com for operations support.

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