He might not look like much, but for an iBeacon-based Augmented Reality developer, he’s an incredibly important piece of equipment.
Harvey is a Sainsbury’s rucksack that doubles as a cool bag, designed for picnics. He was bought in desperation during one of our early shows, because we needed to carry more stuff, and because Sainsbury’s didn’t have any other rucksacks.
Making interactive AR theatre installations is a complex business that combines a software launch with a tech rehearsal, and so on any given day Harvey might contain:
But most importantly, a load of iBeacons
The thing is, when you have a sack of iBeacons that you need to rig in a venue, your first job is to work out which beacon is which. And to do that, you need to isolate each beacon so you can detect each one’s unique ID by placing a cellphone next to it, with no other beacons around to confuse matters.
Used to be, we did this by wrapping our beacons in miles and miles of tinfoil, to block their signals, which is why our Tech Director Dustin had to face very suspicious customs officers asking why he was bringing four rolls of tinfoil from Canada to London.
But with Harvey, this is no longer necessary. Because, as well as being roomy and stylish, Harvey, like all cool bags, is lined with foil. Which means Harvey is also a convenient, portable, wearable Faraday Cage. So once a beacon is detected and labeled, it goes in the bag, where it’s isolated and can’t be detected anymore. We’ve got pretty good at chucking beacons into Harvey from 15-20 feet away.
Harvey might have been bought in a mad, sleepless haze after a 15-hour tech rehearsal, but now he’s an essential part of our process.