Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino Uses Augmented Reality to Give Interior Rooms a “View”

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Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino Uses Augmented Reality to Give Interior Rooms a “View”

By Michal Christine Escobar - 11/10/2020

Over the summer, Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino of Las Vegas announced that it had  secured the multimedia artist Camila Magrane. Her artwork in the Gallery Tower will be an extension of her “Virtual Mutations” series that will utilize augmented reality to create an interactive experience exclusive to certain rooms. The art experience is titled “Transmigrations.”  Magrane created a custom app exclusively for the Downtown Grand which will allow guests to view and interact with the augmented reality features of the artwork just outside their hotel room window.

To learn more about the tech aspect behind the art, and how it contributes to the guest experience, Hospitality Technology spoke with both Kevin Glass, General Manager, Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino and Camila Magrane, the artist behind “Transmigrations.”

How does this art contribute to the guest experience? 

GLASS: Once it was realized that some rooms within the new tower’s inventory would need to have interior-facing walls, our first mission was to figure out how to give guests in these rooms an elevated experience to make sure they weren’t staring at a white wall - because who wants to come to Las Vegas to stare at a wall? In collaboration with our partners at Building180, an art consultancy and production group, we were able to implement an interactive, augmented reality experience that cannot be found in any other hotel in Las Vegas. We hope that all guests staying with us have a dynamic, relaxing and entertaining experience from check-in to check-out and believe that the Transmigrations feature will help ensure that.

Why are only a few rooms able to experience Transmigrations? Was this a limit of the technology or a marketing tactic?

GLASS: The new Gallery Tower footprint lies atop of our existing porte-cochere, which was leveled and reimagined with the eight-story tower overtop of it. We took advantage of the space we had to work with while designing the tower, which resulted in 112 rooms having an interior-facing window view. The Transmigrations experience is limited to those rooms with an interior-facing view.

Can you please briefly describe “Transmigrations” and the technology used to power it?

MAGRANE: "Transmigrations" consists of two 70'x100' murals located at Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are 112 rooms in the hotel’s Gallery Tower, called the Virtual Pad collection, that have interior-facing windows. These windows provide a full view of the murals, each with their own unique vantage point and the ability to view virtual content on the walls via iPads that are placed in each room. By using the technology of augmented reality, guests are able to experience the animated content by simply holding the iPad up to the window of their hotel room.

What kind of technology is used by Transmigrations to interact with hotel guests? 

MAGRANE: The main technology being used in “Transmigrations” is augmented reality (AR). More specifically, AR image recognition. In this case, the interactive experience is the process of a real world image being enhanced by computer-generated animations. The vinyl-printed mural is installed on the parallel wall roughly 10ft in front of the gallery tower windows. Guests are instructed to use the iPads in their room to view the virtual content. The iOS app “Transmigrations,” installed on each room iPad acts as a mediator between the physical mural artwork and the digital animations. At a first glance, the app seems to just display a basic camera feed with simple instructions that ask guests to hold the tablet at the center of their room window. When doing so, animations are overlaid on top of the physical mural image, seen through the camera feed of the iPad.

What does this tech enable guests to do?

MAGRANE: The functionality is similar to that of how a QR code works but instead of using a QR code, I am using a custom created image that acts as the QR trigger.  In the case of “Transmigrations,” when the app recognizes one of my images on a section of the mural, the designated animation that was created for that specific section plays out on top of the physical image. This gives the impression that the real-world image moves in the physical environment. 

Why do you think guests will be drawn to art with a tech and/or interactive element?

MAGRANE: The power of interactive art lies with the viewer taking on a participatory role, thus providing the opportunity to become part of the creative process.  This allows the experience to be unique for each viewer.  As an artist of the 21st century, I feel it's important to use the tools that are part of our everyday lives.  By doing so I am more accurately reflecting our current times.  Technologies such as computers, cell phones, and the internet are all having profound impacts on the way we interact with each other and the world around us.  We have created a dependency on these things. Using them as mediums and tools in my work helps reflect our society and present time in a more relatable and accurate manner.