Make an HD Mobile Display out of iPhones With Junkyard Jumbotron

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Tech 2020

The MIT Media Lab's Junkyard Jumbotron, developed by Rick Borovoy and Brian Knep, is a program that allows assorted screens of all kinds to be coordinated into a giant digital display. "The magic of face-to-face [experience] is under attack from an invasive species ... mobile technology," argues Borovoy. Junkyard Jumbotron is intended to empower users to transform the cellphones, iPads, and laptops that usually isolate us into a collective viewing experience anywhere.

The program works on any device with a screen and a web browser. To "stitch" your devices together, load a given url on each device so that each displays a QR code. Photograph the array and email that image to the program, which then calibrates the display.

In a talk at TED x Boston, Borovoy elaborates on why collective experience is so valuable, and how we can redesign mobile technology to encourage more face-to-face connection. 

As Borovoy says, "It's not about stitching the devices together, it's about stitching the people together." The code is available on GitHub if you want to check it out or contribute. 

For more videos from the MIT Media Lab's LabCast, visit http://labcast.media.mit.edu/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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