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 joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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