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Photos: Padgett And Co. Inc.
o get attendees' motors running at the 2010 LA Auto Show, Audi of America Inc. used iPads loaded with information and interactive demos on the German automaker's new luxury A8 sedan. While employing the popular must-have tech toys may seem like a simple idea, Audi had to make sure those iPads did not grow wheels and drive away during the show.
Element: iPad Kiosks Exhibitor: Audi of America Inc. Design/ Fabrication: Czarnowski Display Service Inc., Chicago, 773-247-1500, www.czarnowski.com Show: LA Auto Show, 2010
The company turned to Czarnowski Display Service
Inc. of Chicago. Czarnowski's solution was to design
and build a structure with four iPads tethered to four columns. Each kiosk's base and column was made of plywood and aluminum. At the top of each column, one computer hung from a leather strap - made of the same leather as the car's interior - that curved away from the column thanks to a thin arc of black-painted aluminum hidden on the underside of the leather.
Inside each strap was a thin polycarbonate skeleton that helped give form to the leather, while also supporting the weight of the wires necessary to connect each iPad to the power source in the kiosk's base. Finally, those leather tethers were attached to the iPads, which were housed within custom-built cases that hid the buttons on the computers so attendees could not exit the demo program.
Exhibit Design Awards judges applauded the kiosks' integrated wire management and the maneuverability of the tablet PCs, with one judge calling them "beautiful, well-designed structures that effectively solved a problem many exhibitors will come to face as the use of iPads and tablets increases on the show floor."
By making the iPads easy to manipulate (the tactile interaction with the tablet computers is, after all, part of their charm) Audi gave attendees a fun way to learn more about its cars. But by safely attaching the computers to the kiosks, Czarnowski made sure those desirable gadgets didn't leave the booth - and won a Silver Award in the Elements category to boot.
Audi of America Inc. used customized leather straps to tie each iPad to its spot at demo kiosks inside the nearly 14,000-square-foot space. Attendees were invited to manipulate the tablet PCs to explore information about the Audi A8. The straps, made from the same leather as the Audi model's interior, also hid wiring and support elements that kept the computers powered and properly oriented for the next attendee.