AKQA partnered with us to create an experimental DJ interactive for Verizon’s flagship stores. The Amplify It experience set visitors in front of a custom mixer board where they whipped up a unique audio/video creation.
In a world where anything can be bought online, more and more brands are boosting their in-store game with engaging, shareable experiences. For AKQA and Verizon, Real Art combined our expertise in electronics, programming, and fabrication to help in-store customers make music, try out products, and share their creations on social media.
We collaborated with AKQA to create the physical design of this sleek and sexy mixer, something that store visitors couldn’t help but reach out and touch. Every aspect of the mixer was assembled in-house. With precision and care, we placed and connected just the right potentiometers and linear slide pots, created our own scratch pad, and got everything talking to an Arduino microcontroller. Instruction icons were laser-etched onto the custom top plate. We even had the mixer knobs specially machined by a friend so that they’d have just the right look and feel.
Each mixer connects to an Android tablet in much the same way as a keyboard connects to a computer. As soon as it’s plugged-in, the tablet automatically boots the accompanying app designed by AKQA and built by Real Art. The app lets users select a sample audio/video track on the tablet and assign it to one of the mixer’s 9 channels.
The app plays all of the user’s selected tracks over a set of Beats headphones, changing the sound output based on adjustments to the volume sliders, distortion knobs, and use of the scratch pad.
But Amplify It isn’t just an audio experience. Users are mixing video as well. Each selected track is also displayed as a video on a nearby monitor array. The size of of a video track is based on its relative audio volume. So if there are two tracks playing, one with volume at 75% and the other at 25%, the video for the first track would take up 3/4ths of the screen while the video for the second track would take up 1/4th. Clicking through the audio filter knobs of each track also overlays a visual filter on the video.
The attention-grabbing video component attracted Verizon customers over to the board where they’d try out the mixer and headphones for themselves. When they were finished, they could enter an email address to retrieve their song, or share it on social media.
The Amplify It mixer was first unveiled at the launch of Verizon’s Chicago flagship but has since been installed in Seattle and Houston stores. The result is a delightfully engaging experience that leaves Verizon store visitors with a spring in their step and new song in their inbox.