Vertical Wind Tunnel Customer Management and Video System Development
Aerodium’s wind tunnels recreate the experience of flying without the help of wings or other devices solely by means of a vertical stream of air. The wind tunnels are used both for professional paratrooper training as well as entertainment. Each flying session is an unforgettable experience that people want to capture in photographs or video films.
Our task was to develop a solution that would automate the customer service process, starting from booking a flight and paying for it via a website, to delivering the flight video to the customer's email account.
The process begins with booking a flight time; each session lasts from 2-4 minutes for beginners to 10-20 minutes for experienced fliers. Accordingly, a solution was created to ensure a minute-by-minute booking process when purchasing a flight on the internet. The management of customer flow before the flight is no less important; it includes customer registration, signing a health and safety release, providing the customer with the right size helmet and costume, warming up, and ensuring that the flight begins on time. These operations are carried out by a receptionist, using a customer management system provided with a touch-sensitive interface. Meanwhile, screens in the waiting area notify waiting customers of their place in line and give each person individual instructions. The number of customers at popular wind tunnels can reach up to 300 people a day and the system even managed customer flow at the Latvian pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai for up to 10,000 people a day.
TUNNEL CONTROL PANEL
To develop a control panel that could adjust to specific properties of each wind tunnel, we provided it with a touchscreen and a modifiable interface. The interface controls the speed of the air stream and duration of the flight, while taking photos and transmitting signals to the fliers that appear on a display inside the tunnel. To associate the interface with the tunnel's engines and sensors, Modbus protocol was used.
RECORDING VIDEO AND PHOTOS
Video materials and photos of an exhilarating activity like flying in a wind tunnel is an excellent way to share your experience with friends on social networks. Such material is also very useful to professionals in analysing training results and improving their personal skills. From the perspective of the tunnel's owner, using video and photo materials with an embedded logo watermark is another opportunity for free promotion; it also attracts new customers and provides additional income.
A solution was developed that would automatically deliver client videos and photos to their email accounts after the flight. The solution included two built-in HD cameras and infrared sensors that detect the person’s position in the tunnel. Based on the data from the infrared sensors, the system automatically edits the material filmed by the two HD cameras, as well as supplements it with intro and background music in real time. A few minutes after the flight, the customer receives a link to the video and photo material in their email account.
In 2010 solution was awarded with Latvian ICT prize "Platinum Mouse".
CUBE Systems carried out the design and development of the system’s technical architecture, including servers, video cameras, infrared sensors, and other technical equipment.
The system was built on request by Aerodium Technologies, a global leader in building open wind tunnels and performing flying shows. The system has been introduced in wind tunnels in Denmark, Finland and Latvia, with other countries, such as China and Bahrain, to follow.