Anybody with a passing familiarity with the hard-hitting sport of gridiron (American Football) is probably aware that the player helmets can be something of an objet d’art in their own right

See one, and your first instinct is to reach out and touch.

Obama watches Katie Johnson try helmet
Then President Barack Obama looks on as his personal secretary Katie Johnson tries on a Pittsburgh Steelers helmet.
(image – Pete Souza)

The recently opened Long Family Football Operations Center, which is the beating heart of the USC Gamecock’s illustrious college football programme, has found a way to harness this instinct in quite an imaginative way.

A row of NFL helmets line each side of the athletes entrance corridor.  These represent each of the University of South Carolina alumni who have gone on to forge NFL careers.  In addition to their symbolic presence, each helmet is completely touch-sensitive; those curious enough to reach out and touch will find themselves triggering relevant graphics and data on two nearby special display screens.

gamecocks exhibit
(image: Christy Radecic, courtesy of Jack Porter Inc)

The exhibit has been conceived in association with Jack Porter Design, based in Greenville, South Carolina, who state that their goal was –

To make the building itself tell the story of Gamecock achievement, spirit, tradition, and value.
Our design team designated themed zones throughout the building, connecting viewers to messaging as they experience the space. Moving from bright, open areas with lively interactive exhibits, to dark, intimate displays of historic importance…

gamecocks exhibit
(image: Christy Radecic, courtesy of Jack Porter Inc)

The exhibit in question is situated in a location that is reserved for active players, which meant that the designers were able to sharply refine the exhibit for its target audience.  The idea is to inspire the potential NFL stars of the future to follow in the footsteps of their fellow Gamecock alumni.

Interestingly, despite being a very much locally facilitated project, the manufacture of the display technology was handled by a company from Sheffield in the UK. 

Pro Display panel manufacture
Pro Display supplied the display hardware for the project.
(image: Pro Display)

Pro Display supplied the project with two of their Mirrorvision 86” screens.  These are innovative technology devices that serve as a high-quality reflective mirror in their passive state, and a 4K video screen when active.

Pro Display were understandably proud of the outcome:

“This amazing interactive display is just another example of how our technology can be used to push boundaries. Combining our digital display technology with physical elements creates a world of opportunity for audio visual applications from education to retail environments.”

If you’re a Gamecock player, placing your hand on an NFL helmet is a compelling enticement towards earning the right to wear one.

Gamecocks exhibit
(image: Christy Radecic, courtesy of Jack Porter Inc)

More on the project from Jack Porter Inc’s portfolio

Response (via Twitter) –

Jack Porter tweet


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