What is an Interactive Installation? Our Guide to Interactive Installations

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What is an Interactive Installation?

Interactive digital installations are an exciting way to activate a physical space through technology, sound and light that responds to you. They turn people from passive audiences to engaged active participators.

Interactive installations come in many guises, but commonly use a range of sensors that allow people to control in an intuitive fun way beautiful and engaging interactive digital content – from video to 3D game environments. At Mbryonic we design and develop software and hardware solutions for creating amazing installations that your customers will want to talk about.

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Why use them?

In todays world we are undergoing almost constant sensory stimulus – from mobile phones, signage, music blaring from speakers, flashing lights, video displays. We’ve become increasingly able to filter these messages out, which is challenge for marketers wanting to get an edge.

Interactive installations are a great way to engage people, to create a real talking point and hold an audience in a space long enough to impart a memorable message. Ultimately they create a deeper engagement between your brand and audiences than traditional digital media.

“Research by neuro specialists have shown that interactive media in advertising increases audience engagement, both in terms of length of engagement (29% higher than traditional) and memory encoding.”

Other times you just want to give something back to your customers. Installations provide moments of fun, social experiences, exhilaration or simply a reflective space in our busy worlds.

3 Amazing Examples

There are many great uses of interactive displays ranging from marketing, experiential and education, here are just a few:

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1. Adidas allowed customers to pre-order their new footwear via a fully immersive retail experience. A touch screen allowed you to rotate the boot, zoom in to see finest details and get additional product information. This allowed them to expand the selection available to customers beyond what would be possible in-store.

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2. Hammerson wanted to create something fresh and innovative for their 2015 Santa’s Grotto. The 360-degree digital grottos took children and their families on a magical journey into Santa’s workshop combining immersive CGI with theatre and interaction.

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3. Connected Worlds is a large-scale immersive interactive ecosystem developed for New York Hall of science. Using gestures children can move physical logs to divert water and plant seeds with their hands. It was designed to encourage a systems thinking approach to sustainability where local action have global consequences.

Developing Interactive Installations

By leveraging our existing technology platform we can produce digital installations quickly and efficiently. When designing an installation there are a number of aspects to consider.


In installations large is usually best – the easiest way to achieve this is through projections. Larger spaces require multiple projectors. Our projection specialists will assess the space and recommend the right equipment for the job.

We can also map projections on environments and use the structure of the building or set to animate the surfaces. This can be used to great effect to bring static buildings to life.

We use realtime graphics technologies such as Unity and OpenFrameworks to create dynamic beautiful reactive graphics. These can incorporate video, camera feeds and animations together to create amazing visuals.


Interaction is where the fun begins. Installations need to be intuitive and easy to use. To achieve this we use a combination of sensors such as:

Touch Screens & Mobile Devices – can be provided on site to provide a intuitive way for participants to control the experience, or even use their own mobile devices over the internet via an app or website.

Cameras – We use a range of infrared and web cameras to capture both the position of people in the space and also their movement. This allows the user to do cool ‘minority report’ style interactions through gestures. We can detect faces and even facial expressions.

Microphones – allow audiences to talk to your installation. Using powerful voice recognition technologies we can drive a whole range of behaviour just by the power of speech.

• Web Feeds – we can drive visuals from remote data feeds from a variety of API’s such as Twitter. This can be used to allow participants to interact with your display and also generate social media reach.


Audio creates atmosphere and is a vital but often forgotten aspect of any installation. Fortunately we work with some of the finest audio designers and musicians to create an interactive score that will set the mood perfectly for your installation.



In a lot of cases you’ll want to place your installation in a staging area. This a physical environment in which the installation takes place. This environment enhances the experience creating mood and providing a setting for the installation. It also has a practical

purpose in hiding technical equipment and providing appropriate surfaces for projections.

Our partner Igloo Vision are experts in providing 360-degree dome projections – immersive tents in which they audiences can experience a wide range of video and interactive content.

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We also work with set makers so if you require a bespoke stage then we can discuss your requirements


Case Studies

Glastonbury Festival


Block 9 is an established zone in Glastonbury -the world’s greatest musical festival. At the centre of the zone is Genosys, a fantastical stage in which the worlds finest international DJ perform. Block 9 needed to refresh their visuals in 2015 to wow audiences and but provide an intuitive interface so it could be easily operated by staff over the period with minimal human intervention.


We worked with our friends at Igloo and Green Hippo to create a projection system for the iconic Block 9 stage at Glastonbury Festival. Mind-melting realtime 3D graphics mapped to the stage’s extraordinary physical structure. When viewed from the angle of the audience, the set appeared to morph and perform impossible feats such as revealing an imaginary interior. All the visuals are generated in realtime using 3D models and effects built in Unity.

The images react automatically to the music, producing visuals that are synchronised to the beat. We produced a system that could be controlled easily by a single operator via a touch interface on an iPad.

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Video: https://vimeo.com/133747566

Client Testimonial

“My favourite part about working with Mbryonic was having the confidence that I was leaving our project in the hands of experienced developers” James Sheridan, Igloo Vision

Tin Men play Sage Gateshead


Dutch jazz ensemble Tin Men & The Telephone produce exciting performances that allow their audience to use their mobile phone to interact with the performers via a special application. They were invited to the north premier venue Sage Gateshead to do a series of concerts and workshops. They had seen our acclaimed work on Play Sage Gateshead app and requested to integrate our work into their performance, to provide a special unique aspect to their time at the iconic venue.


We already had produced an interactive application for tablets and virtual reality headsets for the Sage called Play Sage Gateshead. This allows users to explore the building in 3D and create their own musical compositions by ‘playing’ the building – using the natural sounds of the walls, floor and balustrades as instruments.

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In shot image of Play Sage Gateshead.

We adapted our software to respond to the music played by the band via a control protocol called OSC. This meant that the musicians could control the app simply by playing their instruments. The apps display was sent to a large screen projection behind the band. As the musicians played they appeared to move around the building, with light effects reacting to each hit to create a magical experience.

Client Testimonial

“Working on Play Sage Gateshead with Mbryonic has been a real joy for us here at Sage Gateshead. It is a very new form of commission for us and Mbryonic’s expertise and creative flair has played a central role in bringing it to life.” – Adam Kent, Innovations Manager of Sage Gateshead,



Theatre and media production company Artstrust Productions wanted to create an interactive portrait that responds to visitors at one of its exhibitions as part of an engagement piece. This type of interactive installation was a new venture for them and so wanted a partner they could trust to develop the concept. The project was funded by Arts Council of England.


We worked with Artstrust during research and development to explore how the audience might interact with the exhibit. Mapping out how the portrait would influence the participant and what would make a meaningful interaction. The more the audience interacts with Bim the happier she becomes if left alone she becomes restless and bored. For good measure, we added a motorised wall that vibrates and shakes in response to Bim’s mood.

As it was a touring piece – we experimented with different technologies like facial recognition and ultrasonic detectors to find out which would give the most reliable results in a variety of environments. We created a technology platform in Openframeworks that brings together branching video, arduinos, sensors and computer-controlled motors to create a living breathing piece of art.

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BIM installed at the Barbican

Video: https://vimeo.com/138309993


We were funded by the arts commission within a budget of £15,000 which included all development and equipment.

Client Testimonial

“Mbryonic’s technical expertise and creative input was essential in the project’s success. It was a complete pleasure working with them and the end result looked great and importantly worked reliably throughout its tour” Martin Collins, Director Artstrust Production

About Mbryonic

Our Services

We offer end-to-end design and development service for your VR, AR and installation needs. This includes consultancy, design, development and deployment. We are happy to provide friendly advice on how to integrate its use into your brand in a free initial consultation. Contact us at info@mbryonic.com.

We’ll work to develop a concept and we will devise an amazing experience that your customers will want to talk about to their friends. We advise on costing and look after all aspects of production for you.

Our Competitive Advantage

We are a highly experienced team that have a proven track record in delivering high quality interactive content. We are also a small flexible organisation that keeps our costs low and allows us to provide a tailored personal experience. We are based in East London.


Send us a message at info@mbryonic.com and or write it in the comments.

Looking forward to hear from you.


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