Attached to the new AT&T Network Operations Center is the Exhibit Gallery, which features interactive exhibits about the development of Network Technology. The exhibit spans the range of human communications, from early methods of networking such as African Drums and Train Switching Systems, to Long Distance Telephone Lines, Fiber Optic and ATM / VDSL Technologies.
The Interactive Programs are displayed on 42-inch Plasma Screens with Touch Screen Overlays. Graphics and sound files are displayed on the screens based on visitor input through the touch screen and motion detectors. Lighting and fiber optic illuminators are controlled through the User Interface.
This was accomplished by interfacing an Alcorn IO64 with each of the PC Subsystems throughout the exhibit area. The PCs run interactive presentations authored using Macromedia Director.
VideoSonic developed a plug-in for Director, allowing the PC to communicate with the IO64 through its serial port via Alcorn 9-bit protocol. Using the IO64 in this manner is very cost effective, as it provides a single box solution to interface our PCs with outboard devices: the 8-bit serial port on the IO64 was connected to the Lutron Dimming System, while the discrete I/Os provided input from the motion detectors and outputs to the fiber optic illuminators.
That single Alcorn McBride IO64 replaced an extremely cumbersome Dataton System that had been specified to be used by AT&T. The Dataton System would have required a host MAC PC, and several boxes that had to be connected with proprietary cables by Dataton.
Not only did the IO64 provide a single-box solution, it was able to operate stand-alone, not connected to a PC for testing, and could also provide visual feedback about what inputs it was receiving and what outputs were active.
The installation was performed by Videosonic, a design and installation firm located in New York and headed by Glenn Polly.