building a screenscape (wireless?)

If you have visited HUMlab recently, you have probably noticed that there are quite a few screens around. Not only individual screens but a number of large’lab screens’. In the extended part of the lab, there is a screenscape currently being implemented with a great number of screens and a basic idea of multiplexity and multiple frame while maintaining a sense of one screenscape. This is quite a large and complex system and I am working on an article right now trying to outline some of the issues at play here.

Currently, however, I am thinking of wireless connectivity to screens and projectors. This is something I have been interested on and off for quite some time now. There are projectors with wireless functionality to be purchased and there are a number of (but not too many I think) adapters you can connect to an exisiting projector. There are also software soultions that require a server computer connected to the projector.

Some findings:

  • resolution is limited (naturally), but there is a span here and the low resolution solutions are probably not good enough.
  • many adapter solutions require a USB dongle of some kind to be connected to the laptop (or other computer to display images on the screen/projector) – from this point of view use of a standard wireless network is much better.
  • there is wireless usb technology for this kind of purpose, but again, you will typically need dongles unless you have a laptop with wireless usb built in.
  • most alternatives I have seen are operating system specific and for instance, a Windows computer may remotely download software required to connect to a projector through the wireless network, but this will not work for other operating systems.

I would like a solution/device that is not dependent on dongles and that works for Windows, MAC and Linux. Also, resolution must be decent. Any suggestions?

Also, since we are implementing a display and audio infrastructure for the new part of the lab, it has occurred to me that maybe the best thing for this part of the lab would be to have a dedicated server whose job it was to manage incoming wireless display (and audio) data from laptops (mainly) and deliver it to screens in the lab through existing distribution systems. Probably there would have to be some kind of  control or management system (to allow management of incoming sources). Anyone interested in building this? 

For other screens in the lab we would probably have to rely on individual adapters or the like so my guess is that we need both.

The rationale for all this, of course, is that it should be as easy as possible to connect to screens from (in particular) laptops. Imagine a class setting for instance, a research group or an artist showing their work. With a low threshold there is a likelihood that people would share their stuff more often, which I think is important to the lab.