Charge Up Wall


Charge Up Wall


CLIENT : New Balance

COMPANY : Sub Rosa

YEAR : 2017

ROLE : Senior Creative Technologist /
Technical Project Lead

Ideation, Art Direction, Prototyping, Development, Q&A, Timelines, Equipment Ordering, Social Content Creation, Installation, On Site Support



2017 marked the start of New Balance’s 10 year sponsorship agreement with New York Road Runners, as the official athletic footwear & apparel company for New York based Running Events. Sub Rosa was engaged to design, build and execute multiple experiential touch points to celebrate the world’s biggest running event, the TCS New York Marathon. Including on-course interactive installations.




The Charge Up Wall was a scalable interactive experience that visualized motion through a digital environment, using interactive particles effected and propelled by the velocity of runners passing by, creating a bold expression of movement and momentum in real-time.




The installation went through two major iterations, the first activated at the AirBnb Brooklyn Half towards the finish line at Coney Island. The second installed on course at the NYC Marathon at mile 20, to build momentum, in the Bronx.




Brooklyn Half Marathon

IP Cameras utilizing OpenCV technology captured runners’ motion as they passed by the LED screen, transforming their presence and pace into digital velocity. Magnetic fields pull and shift particles both together and apart to create visual messages of celebration and encouragement. The application architecture for this iteration consisted of a state based lifecycle that moved from a text fill state to text knockout state and back, with a transition period between, for each motivational message.



I led brainstorm sessions along with our design team to land on a set of visual systems, motion behaviors and interactions to determine the design of the system.
Landing on concepts of velocity, motivational messaging and particle systems, I begun prototyping different particle behavior aesthetics.
Once we had decided on a behavioral aesthetic for the particle system, I moved onto building the application architecture, state lifecycle mechanics and integrating the stitched camera and OpenCV elements.



New York Marathon

The Final Iteration of the Charge Up Wall was activated in the Bronx as part of the New Balance Mile 20 Block Party, a dedicated cheer zone with performances by Grandmaster Flash, with the goal to help push runners through the proverbial ”wall”.
Learning from the Brooklyn Half, we determined the experience needed to be faster and simpler in order to better emphasize both the individual and the collective momentum during race day, while still maintaining messaging visibility.



With the learnings in mind, I stripped away all state based mechanisms and transitions leaving one bold visual state, emphasizing the effect the runners movement had on the screen. Next was a complete rebuild of the particle system with a flow field mechanism. The effect was quickly a favorite as it was a more controlled expression of velocity and allowed for message visibility during high traffic interaction. Additionally, race day messaging was expanded to include NYM specific content as well as Multilingual words of encouragement.



The overall end experience, was simpler and cleaner in order to emphasis velocity, capitalizing on both the individual and collective momentum generated at any one point during the race.



Version used for Race Day


Links / Press



PC, openFrameworks, Networked IP Cameras, OpenCV, Network Switch, Wireless Router, 30ft LED Wall