The FrameGlide video explorer and Spin Browser dial
Much more than simply a dial!
- Thanks and clarifications
- Unique features and visitor experience, enabled by sophisticated software
- Quality, reliability, 3 year warranty, and 24x7x365 support
- Design assistance throughout the project, and unique, low cost content library
- Flexible pricing to match the project
- Trademark and other intellectual property issues
- Competitive checklist
- Client testimonials
Thanks and clarifications
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
First, we would like to thank the museum, exhibit design, and event production community for helping our invention find homes within such diverse and interesting venues. We have had the privilege of helping visitors, students, and customers learn about bird flight, automobile assembly, river life, endoscopic procedures, weather, and 1001 other subjects in between.
Ironically, the very popularity of our system is causing TechnoFrolics' "Spin Browser" trademark to sometimes be misused as a generic term for rotary image control, resulting in confusion for clients, design firms, and fabricators.
Compounding the problem is the perception by some that our system is primarily defined by the dial. This is false - the uniquely-fluid visitor experience, and majority of our invention's value and creation effort, lies in the application code. (Indeed, our software environment is used in a number of interactive video exhibits that do not even employ a dial.) In consequence, we have recently changed the name of our system to "FrameGlide" video explorer, with "Spin Browser" now referring to the (optional) dial element only. We refer to the dynamic duo as "FG|SB" below.
Because of the above, without complete information, choices may be made that result in sub-par visitor experiences. This is a particular risk in situations where design specifications are loose and RFP bidders are under intense pressure to cut up-front costs, resulting in "solutions" that may not compare in either user enjoyment, or reliability, to TechnoFrolics' FG|SB system.
We have posted this page to assist the reader in making informed decisions, outline the technology and services we provide, and request your help in insuring proper use of our trademark.
Unique features and visitor experience, enabled by sophisticated software
It is beyond the scope of this document to discuss all the benefits the Spin Browser explorer provides. For that, please see our Features and Advantages PDF that describes the system in detail, both live capture and pre-produced incarnations, along with many supporting client quotes, installation photos, and periodically-updated technical feature list in Appendix B. We also encourage you to check out www.temporalinnovations.com, our offshoot site geared towards research applications of the powerful data-filtering features of the FrameGlide system.
Below are just a few highlights:
- Unparalleled smoothness and fluidity of movement, making users feel they control the action and allowing deep exploration of kinematic phenomena. This liquid experience extends to 4K, content tens of hours length and near terabyte in size, and with uninterrupted live capture occurring in parallel.
- Sophisticated, configurable movie advance algorithm, providing fine control at slow speeds, yet allowing visitors to skip forward years in just seconds.
- Graphic overlays and audio narration, cued based on where in content user is located, how long they have remained within a specific content region, etc.
- Usage monitoring, in dwell-time histogram form. Visitor interest may thus be analyzed for the purpose of educational and/or marketing assessment.
And for realtime streaming capture:
- HD, high-speed, time lapse, or a mixture, employing one or multiple cameras (e.g., full motion video for last 24 hours and time lapse for prior year).
- Automated, redundant backup system with data-set integrity checking.
- Configurable exposure algorithm including whiteout protection, and adjustable convergence rate to handle different timescale scene brightness changes. (These days, often replaced by camera's internal exposure algorithm.)
- Adjustable capture periods, both absolute and relative to sunrise/sunset (system uses date, latitude, and longitude to automatically calculate daylight hours).
- Ability to quickly and reversibly adjust visitor-perusable content at display time (for example, to configure the amount of darkness shown during day/night cycles). This feature can turn a multi-week video editing project into a five minute, reversible, settings change.
Quality, reliability, 3 year warranty, and near 24x7x365 support
Most problems with all but the simplest interactive video displays lie in the application code, not the hardware. Whether it is a less-than-riveting visitor experience, or repeated crashes (the worst being intermittent), it is by far most frequent that software is the problem. This is particularly true when the installation is a one-off creation where timelines and budgets virtually never allow for adequate development time or testing.
In contrast, TechnoFrolics' FrameGlide software (the magic behind our Spin Browser based systems) has been refined and tested for almost a decade. Equally importantly (given we are always enhancing the system and thus could potentially introduce a new bug), for us it is not a one-off creation, but part of our core business, with development and quality control costs amortized over many clients. Thus, in using our system you are both benefiting from person-years of development work and testing, and assured of immediate responsiveness to any potential bug reports, as our business depends on our system's ultra-reliable functioning and customer satisfaction.
In addition, the system continually monitors itself, stores all information in dated logs, and optionally emails system administrators in the event of a problem.
While, as we have said, the predominance of our system's value lies in the software and services, of course the hardware does matter too. Our dial (if that is the interface to our software that you use), whether dome or panel mount version, offers users an extremely smooth and rewarding tactile experience, is visually attractive, and has a size and inertia that experience has proven uniquely satisfying.
The 1/2" precision steel bearings, vibration-isolated rotary encoder, and associated interface electronics are ultra-rugged, coming with an industry-leading three year 100% parts and labor warranty, and where because we stock all items, in the unlikely event that a failure does occur we can typically Fedex replacement parts in 24 hours. (Typically the computer will need replacing well before TechnoFrolics' user interface.)
In addition, we static-ruggedize and test all our interfaces, insuring that visitor-generated sparks cause neither permanent hardware damage, nor (much more likely) intermittent crashes of the software.
We are available virtually 24x7x365 to help with any issues that may arise. We know what it is like at the opening of a new exhibit, be that just before a museum donor tour, or the morning of a big trade show.
All the above combine to ensure a positive user experience - in our view, the cost of even one disappointed user is too high, particularly if readily avoidable.
Design assistance throughout the project and unique content library.
TechnoFrolics is available and delighted to help wherever needed, from initial project brainstorming to final production. We are experts in content production for our technology, having many years' experience seeing what works and what does not (with both stills & video), as well as having ourselves produced pieces for clients ranging from the Singapore Science Centre, to Tufts University, to Bose corporation. Creating engaging content for the FG|SB system requires a different eye than producing for conventional media; should you already have a video producer in place, we are happy to share our expertise.
Over the past decade, we have gradually accumulated a library of stock content specifically geared for FG|SB presentation. Through special arrangements with content producers, and the inclusion of their website in small, unobtrusive, watermarked form, we have negotiated pricing often at just a fraction of normal industry rates. Please contact us for more detail.
We also develop custom designs and interfaces on both the hardware and software level, and would be happy to discuss your application at any time.
Flexible pricing to match the project
We have a commitment to make the FG|SB practical and affordable not only for large museums and commercial enterprises, but also for small regional organizations - particularly those focused on art, education, and community.
Because our system is very powerful, many clients use only a fraction of its capabilities. In addition, inexpensive PCs and video editing tools have become commonplace. In response, we have dramatically expanded our purchase and rental options, including where others handle production, configuration, and content archiving. In such cases, our costs are dramatically reduced. (Once we learn the particulars of your situation, we can promptly provide an exact quote.)
We also offer:
- Special reduced-cost packages for those using only a small fraction of our system's power.
- Up to 50% off competitive upgrade for those replacing their existing technologies with a Spin Browser system (some restrictions apply).
- Rentals and leases, as well as sales.
- Refurbished units (when available).
- Subsidization of custom development work, when such work will enhance our system overall in a generally useful way.
In summary, we have a strong commitment to crafting a features, services, and pricing package that works for everyone.
Trademark and other intellectual property issues
As the inventor of the FG|SB technology and a small, innovative design studio, we ask for your understanding and assistance, both in terms of using proper language within RFPs and the like, and "spreading the word" more generally. Specifically:
- TechnoFrolics is the inventor of the FG|SB technology, holding copyright on the trademarked Spin Browser dial and FrameGlide software. Our installations and Spin Browser trademark/copyright date back to 1999, our domain name www.spinbrowser.com to 2000, and our original patent (now expired) to 1999/2004.
- "Spin Browser" is thus properly used only within the context of a TechnoFrolics' system. Areas where issues may arise include RFPs, physical exhibit signage, and marketing materials in print or electronic form.
- Should designers wish to refer to a generic rotary input device in an RFP, "jog wheel" or "rotary video controller" are possible options.
(Of course we would greatly appreciate your mentioning TechnoFrolics' Spin Browser dial with FrameGlide software as a high quality solution in this regard.)
- If for some reason occasion warrants use of a non-TechnoFrolics rotary video controller in an exhibit, please make it clearly distinguishable in "look and feel" from our standard dial interfaces, in order to avoid user/client confusion.
- Does the system offer smooth, crystal-clear traversal of content, from stop frame to hundreds of thousands of times normal rate?
- Does the technology support 4K, provide for future content expansion, and allow parallel live capture?
- Has the software been extensively tested for reliable functioning, and if there is a bug, will it be quickly fixed?
- Has the user interface been ruggedized, field-tested, and confirmed impervious to repeated visitor-generated static discharges?
- Can you easily adjust movie progress relative to dial movement, as indicated by differing content and observed visitor behavior?
- Does the system offer a cool, eye-catching Attract Mode?
- Can you include audio narration and graphic overlays that appear based on visitor interests and behavior?
- Can you monitor visitor usage, for evaluation of educational impact and marketing effectiveness?
- Will they offer professional, experienced assistance before, during, and after project completion?
- Do they have a stock library of content specifically acquired for the technology?
- Do they have experience producing custom content for the technology, with a trained eye for what will and will not engage your visitors and customers?
- Are they flexible with financing, sale, and rental options?
- Do they offer free demo units for evaluation by designers, clients, donors, and fabricators?
- Will they provide discounted custom software development?
- Are they enthusiastic, thoughtful, and perhaps most important, fun to work with?
We very much enjoy our friendly, collaborative relationships with clients and colleagues, and hope as a community you understand our efforts to protect our product's name, explain its benefits, minimize confusion, and maintain the FG|SB's reputation for quality, reliability, innovation, and support.
Many clients and designers we work with communicate with us early on both to discuss design goals/possibilities, and to prepare a detailed quote. In this way, if an RFP is the route the project takes, either our deliverables and pricing become part of it, or if not, at a minimum we are prepared to provide relevant information to requesting parties promptly. We strongly encourage this path, as it leads to both better exhibits, and less confusion.
We welcome questions and comments, and the opportunity for you to experience our system firsthand. In this regard, we encourage you to "test drive" a fully-functional demo unit, which we would be delighted to send you or your clients 100% free of charge or obligation.
We thank you for your time and attention, and look forward to the possibility of working with you. Remember, there is only one genuine Spin Browser video explorer!
David Durlach, Founder and Director
Office 617-441-8870 Email email@example.com
A few client testimonials (many more available upon request):
“[The FG|SB] was a HUGE hit! The evaluators reported that the hold times ... were off the charts! ... apparently they were so big that if you didn't know better, it would seem like a mistake. Success!”
Peggy Monahan, Manager of Exhibit Design and Development, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
“I’m happy to report that your [FG|SB] exhibits are the ONLY kiosks that I have not had to reinstall/rebuild do any maintenance on and I regularly cite them as examples for how things here should work.”
Phillip Manget, Exhibits Department, New York Hall of Science
“TechnoFrolics is a highly reliable production group. David and company are both technically proficient and aesthetically sensitive, a rare combination. They pay attention to fine details and ask the right questions. They deliver on time and on budget.”
Doug Smith, Senior Exhibit Planner, Boston Museum of Science