The HUD itself displays a number of core capabilities across the Iron Man movies prior to its appearance in The Avengers. Cataloguing these capabilities lets us understand (or backworld) how he interacts with the HUD, equipping us to look for its common patterns and possible conflicts. In the first-person view, we saw it looked almost entirely like a rich agentive display, but with little interaction. Now, let’s look at that gorgeous 2nd-person view.
When in the first film Tony first puts the faceplate on and says to JARVIS, “Engage heads-up display”… …we see things from a narrative-conceit, 2nd-person perspective, as if the helmet were huge and we are inside the cavernous space with him, seeing only Tony’s face and the augmented reality interface elements. You might be thinking, “Of course it’s a narrative conceit. It’s not real. It’s in a movie.” But what I mean by that is that even in the diegesis, the Marvel Cinematic World, this is not something that could be seen. Let’s move through the reasons why. Continue reading →
The security alert occurs in two parts. The first is a paddock alert that starts on a single terminal but gets copied to the big shared screen. The second is a security monitor for the visitor center in which the control room sits. Both of these live as part of the larger Jurassic Park.exe, alongside the Explorer Status panel, and take the place of the tour map on the screen automatically.
After Nedry disables security, the central system fires an alert as each of the perimeter fence systems go down. Each section of the fence blinks red, with a large “UNARMED” on top of the section. After blinking, the fence line disappears. To the right is the screen for monitoring vehicles. Continue reading →
According to Hammond, the geneticists in the lab and the software they’re using is “The Real Deal”.
It is a piece of software intended to view and manipulate dino DNA into a format that (presumably) can be turned into viable dinosaur embryos. The screen is tilted away from us during viewing, and we aren’t able to see the extensive menu and labeling system on the left hand side of the desktop.
Behind it are more traditional microscopes, lab machines, and centrifugal separators.
Visible on the screen is a large pane with a 2D rendering of a 3d object that is the DNA that is being manipulated. It is a roughly helical shape, with the green stripes corresponding to the protein structure, and various colored dots representing the information proteins in between.
When we first see the HUD, Tony is donning the Iron Man mask. Tony asks, JARVIS, “You there?” To which JARVIS replies, “At your service sir.” Tony tells him to Engage the heads-up display, and we see the HUD initialize. It is a dizzying mixture of blue wireframe motion graphics. Some imply system functions, such as the reticle that pinpoints Tonys eye. Most are small dashboard-like gauges that remain small and in Tonys peripheral vision while the information is not needed, and become larger and more central when needed. These features are catalogued in another post, but we learn about them through two points-of-view: a first-person view, which shows us what Tony’s sees as if we were there, donning the mask in his stead, and second-person view, which shows us Tony’s face overlaid against a dark background with floating graphics.
This post is about that first-person view. Specifically it’s about the visual design and the four awarenesses it displays.
In the Augmented Reality chapter of Make It So, I identified four types of awareness seen in the survey for Augmented Reality displays:
The Iron Man HUD illustrates all four and is a useful framework for describing and critiquing the 1st-person view. Continue reading →
The Control Room of Jurassic Park has a basic video/audio feed to the Tour Explorers that a controller (or, in this case, John Hammond) can use to talk to the tour participants. He is able to switch to different cameras using the number keys on the keyboard attached to the monitor. The cameras themselves appear to be fixed in place.
We never see the cameras themselves in the Explorers, but we do see Malcolm tap on one of the cameras during the tour while Hammond is watching it’s feed, so they are visible to the riders.
Hammond occasionally speaks through his audio link, and can hear a constant audio feed from the Explorers. He has some kind of mute button (he says a couple disparaging comments that the other characters don’t appear to hear), but the feed from the Explorers is real-time. It isn’t obvious how he switches between the different Explorers’ audio feeds, or whether he hears both Explorers simultaneously. Continue reading →
There is a great deal to say about the interactions and interface, but let’s just take a moment to recount everything that the HUD does over the Iron Man movies and The Avengers. Keep in mind that just as there are many iterations of the suit, there can be many iterations of the HUD, but since it’s largely display software controlled by JARVIS, the functions can very easily move between exosuits.
Along the bottom of the HUD are some small gauges, which, though they change iconography across the properties, are consistently present.
For the most part they persist as tiny icons and thereby hard to read, but when the suit reboots in a high-altitude freefall, we get to see giant versions of them, and can read that they are:
Genarro: “Are they heavy?”
Excited Kid: “Yeah!”
Genarro: “Then they’re expensive, put them back”
Excited Kid: [nope]
The Night Vision Goggles are large binoculars that are sized to fit on an adult head. They are stored in a padded case in the Tour Jeep’s trunk. When activated, a single red light illuminated in the “forehead” of the device, and four green lights appear on the rim of each lens. The green lights rotate around the lens as the user zooms the binoculars in and out. On a styling point, the goggles are painted in a very traditional and very adorable green and yellow striped dinosaur pattern.
Tim holds the goggles up as he plays with them, and it looks like they are too large for his head (although we don’t see him adjust the head support at all, so he might not have known they were adjustable). He adjusts the zoom using two hidden controls—one on each side. It isn’t obvious how these work. It could be that…
There are no controls, and it automatically focuses on the thing in the center of the view or on the thing moving.
One side zooms in, and the other zooms out.
Both controls have a zoom in/zoom out ability.
Each side control powers its own lens.
Admittedly, the last option is the least likely.
Unfortunately the movie just doesn’t give us enough information, leaving it as an exercise for us to consider.
One computer in the control room is dedicated to showing the status of the Jeeps out on tour, and where they currently are on the island.
Next to the vehicle outline, we see the words “Vehicle Type: Ford Explorer” (thank you, product placement) along with “EXP” 4–7. EXP 4 & 5 look unselected, but have green dots next to them, while EXP 6 & 7 look selected with red dots next to them. No characters interact with this screen. Mr. Arnold does tap on it with a pen (to make a point though, not to interact with it).
On the right hand side of the screen also see a top-down view of the car with the electric track shown underneath, and little red arrows pointing forward. Below the graphic are the words “13 mph”. The most visible and obvious indicator on the screen is the headlights. A large “Headlights On” indicator is at the top of the screen, with highlighted cones coming out of the Jeep where the headlights are on the car. Continue reading →
So this is going to take a few posts. You see, the next interface that appears in The Avengers is a video conference between Tony Stark in his Iron Man supersuit and his partner in romance and business, Pepper Potts, about switching Stark Tower from the electrical grid to their independent power source. Here’s what a still from the scene looks like.
So on the surface of this scene, it’s a communications interface.
But that chat exists inside of an interface with a conceptual and interaction framework that has been laid down since the original Iron Man movie in 2008, and built upon with each sequel, one in 2010 and one in 2013. (With rumors aplenty for a fourth one…sometime.)
So to review the video chat, I first have to talk about the whole interface, and that has about 6 hours of prologue occurring across 4 years of cinema informing it. So let’s start, as I do with almost every interface, simply by describing it and its components. Continue reading →