Sharp Electronics: “Future Lab”

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When Sharp Electronics was planning to open its new world headquarters, it wanted to create a comprehensive educational software program that would run on touch-screen kiosks in its lobby.  ( In Japan, it is customary that when a business opens a new facility, it dedicate a portion of the lobby or common area to hosting a public presentation.)

The program, which Sharp named “Future Lab,” would present the origins, present states of, and futures of a broad range of technologies.

The company that was developing the raw content of the program, Knowledge Farm (Japan) subcontracted Rainbow Technology Group (Phoenix, AZ), of which I was Creative Director, to develop:

  • The animated introduction
  • Accompanying narration
  • The user interface

Over the course of a year, I performed the following tasks on “Future Lab”:

  • Script writing
  • Storyboard design
  • Logo design
  • Developed production planning, tracking and management tools exclusively for this mammoth project

The introduction features an actor portraying the legendary scientist Francis Bacon walking through a museum-like “gallery” of pioneers in science & technology (e.g. Pascal, Da Vinci, Galileo), whose inventions “come to life” through 3D computer animation.

As shown below, the interface was based on Bacon’s imagined island of “Bensalem,” contained in his book “The New Atlantis,” where scientists and inventors could freely work and explore nature’s mysteries:

In the interface, the island was broken down into discrete regions (modules), where specific areas of study (e.g. optics, geology, etc.) were pursued.

The above images are excerpts from the 60-frame script-storyboard that I developed for the opening sequence (the video excerpt below, was directed by a third party):
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Sharp Future Lab – Part 1 by jonsutz

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You can see some of my production planning and progress logs for “Future Lab” here.

The Result: “Future Lab was heralded by top Sharp Electronics executives and the Japanese public, and was considered one of the largest, most successful multi-lingual interactive public access presentations in Japan.

The following video (a bit shaky; explanation upon request) contains excerpts of the animation for the opening sequence that was ultimately produced under the direction of a third party (note that it does not precisely follow my storyboard-script):
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