AV Technology is Right Prescription for the Center for Connected Medicine

Grand Prize Winner for Best Project over $1 Million in the 2010 ARCHI-TECH AV Awards

Located on a top floor of Pittsburgh’s tallest skyscraper, the Center for Connected Medicine uses integrated presentation technologies to demonstrate how technology can significantly impact patient care and transform the healthcare industry.

Real examples of success are illustrated with simulated hospital environments, allowing hospital administrators an opportunity to see, hear, and feel systems at work and in practice – from admission to exam room, surgery, post-op, and patient discharge. The facility allows these executives to understand how connectivity and technology can transform and benefit both the patients and the healthcare organizations.

This project concept remained constant throughout the design, although the means to achieve the overall goal evolved as the architect, content creation company, and technology consultant balanced individual design interests. A facility where functionality, aesthetics, and technology all supported each other is a result of coordination and creative collaboration by these visionaries.

ARCHI-TECH partners with InfoComm International® for the annual ARCHI-TECH AV Awards program, now in its eighth year. The program honors outstanding examples of the creative and effective integration of technology into otherwise traditional construction projects. As they do every year, this year's AV Awards winners pushed the boundaries of technology and architecture. Join us for our webinar series to hear from the professionals who created these award-winning projects.

The webinars for these projects are approved by AIA for earning one AIA/CES Learning Unit, and InfoComm for earning one CTS Renewal Unit (RU) unit.

Center for Connected Medicine - 9/2/2010
Find out how this one-of-a-kind experience center uses high-end communication and presentation technologies to change the way the healthcare industry experiences and conducts business.

Autodesk - 9/16/2010
Discover how Autodesk’s project team proved that AV systems don’t have to be overly complex to produce outstanding results in a corporate office environment.

Brand Recognition: Carolina Herrera - 9/30/2010
Standing out from loud video displays that are overused on the Strip, hear how Carolina Herrera boutique uses its Vegas storefront to portray a dynamic, large-scale video display that integrates with the building’s architecture, providing passersby with a virtual fashion show.

Fox News Network - 10/14/2010
An eye-catching, compelling AV element is what FOX News was after for its news set – learn how they decided on an iconic AV element (an enormous, monolithic AV cube, reminiscent of the FOX logo) to distinguish the set and the FOX brand.

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House - 10/28/2010
Knowing that the Winspear Opera House would host operas as well as other types of performances, the project team shares how a hidden voice-lift system and retractable music system was installed that is invisible to patrons, but allows non-opera performances to be heard throughout the hall.


Creating a highly configurable space that can stage a variety of healthcare technologies – yet avoids having the presentation technologies become a distraction – was a major design issue.

Greeting Visitors with a Taste of What’s to Come
An interactive flash program greets visitors as they exit the elevators, drawing them into the experience. Sophisticated IR sensors react to movement and gestures, making it possible for the images and visitors to interact.

 From “digital wallpaper” to a 36-inch-by-128-inch Perceptive pixel display, technology helps define the space. Movable, floor-to-ceiling electronic backdrops that are designed for rear projection from both sides help create the experimental hospital settings, where real-world doctors in other cities can discuss healthcare issues with visitors over IP real-time videoconferences.

 The “Connected Medicine Experience Stage” is made up of multiple presentation modules, a clinical demonstration area, and mediated meeting rooms. The central command is a 42-inch plasma framing station with touchscreen overlay controls scenarios that are customized to the specific interest of doctors, IT specialists, and healthcare administrators.

 The stage exhibits both current and future flexibility. The 12-foot-side rear projection surfaces are mounted on rigid frames that are attached to rollers on tracks overhead, allowing the space to be readily configured to suit various presentation needs. In addition, most of the stage is on a 3-inch raised floor to facilitate future rewiring.

 “The biggest challenge that the design team faced was the fact that the center was being built into an existing building,” explains Mark Gillis a principal consultant with the Sextant Group, Inc. and part of the design team. “It was built and constructed in the U.S. Steel Tower, and we were really concerned about the ceiling height – the idea of creating this digital wallpaper using the projection systems for the different scenarios within the experience area. We knew it had to be taller than a person – otherwise you wouldn’t feel like you were really in a room. We needed at least 7.5 to 8 feet to do that. There were some really large beams that didn’t allow us to get near the height that we wanted for the projection system. Not only do you need to have the height of the screen, you need the ability to get projectors above that. The architect ended up putting each one of the experience areas in between the beams, then the ceiling was built within the center right up to the deck, and the acoustical panels were added. Then all of the beams in there were boxed out.”

The unique system of 15 standard widescreen projectors with 17 additional ultra-short-throw projectors is made possible by a Unistrut grid. Because of the low ceiling height restrictions, grid depth and height of projection surfaces, the projectors are a mere 18 inches away from the projection surfaces. They provide high-resolution picture-in-picture capabilities, which enables additional flexibility.

“The ability to do a hard picture-in-picture is something I hadn’t seen done before,“ says Gillis. “We talked about doing a software picture-in-picture or a processor picture in picture, but the problem with that was the internal picture, which was planned to be software – in some cases an actual application running live and in real time. You lose the resolution for what it really looks like when you do a picture-in-picture through a processor; it gets scaled or otherwise manipulated so do you don’t get the pixel-per-pixel resolution from that application. And so the fact that we used DLP projectors in this solution allows the content creation company to put up what is typically on the main screen (like a backdrop – it could be the background of an operating room) and then show the application by ‘blacking out’ a section of the background, which allows us to use the short-throw projectors from behind into that picture-in-picture. So we’re getting the full resolution of the application within the picture-in-picture.”

Similarly, the flash program at the entrance of the facility uses pixel-blacking, synced with the door movement, to prevent the projector light from shining directly into the eyes of entering visitors. “The system uses a tracking system on the doors so that as they move, it blocks out the image at the doorway and it tracks with the doors so it looks like the image is moving along with the doors.

Glass Walls Double as Writing Surface
Meeting rooms surround the stage, where movable glass walls act as room dividers, also doubling as writing surfaces. Each glass panel has etched patterns laminated inside. During meetings, groups can brainstorm on the walls with dry erase markers, or both glass walls can be opened for larger gatherings.

Virtually all technology is concealed in the facility. Custom projector mounts, recessed alcoves for projectors, all flat panels built into the walls, and all racks hidden in custom casework, contribute to the seamless integration of the technology. The AV installation uses an individual network, while the software applications that are highlighted in each scenario are directly connected to the healthcare provider’s own network.

Custom motorized shades on the nontraditional windows made increased use of natural light possible, even though LEED certification was not considered for the project.

The Center for Connected Medicine is a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent, Cerner, Google, dbMotion, Johnson Controls, Polycom, and Research in Motion (RIM – the company behind BlackBerry) that employs flexible, high-end presentation technologies to create an innovative, end-to-end patient management showcase.

“The major goal was the ability for the partners to show how their individual components can get combined and the synergies involved in creating a better workflow environment in a hospital,” says Gillis. “It’s a showcase that takes the C-level executives on a tour through a scenario – for example, a typical day for a person who has an accident and is life-flighted into a hospital. The patient goes through ER and all the way to recovery.”The final product not only met expectations, but also exceeded them. The users are finding new ways to use the space, resulting in requests for additional functionality.


The Design Alliance
The Sextant Group


APC Smart-UPS 750VA USB/Serial rack-mountable backup
Biamp Nexia CS 10 mic/line-in x 6 mic/line-out audio DSPs
Chief Fusion PRO Universal Fusion lockable tilt wall mount
Contemporary Research 232-ATSC HDTV tuners
Countryman B3 Omni Round lavalier microphone
Countryman E6i Directional Earset headworn microphone
Crestron MC2e control system processor
Crestron PRO2 integrated control system processors
Crestron QM-MD16x16 16x16 QuickMedia distribution center
Crestron QM-MD5x1 5x1 QuickMedia distribution center
Crestron QM-RX QuickMedia receiver
Crestron QM-RX1-2G QuickMedia receiver
Crestron QM-TX QuickMedia transmitter
Crestron QuickMedia QM-DA-4 distribution amp
Crestron TPS-6X RF 6-inch wireless color touch panels
Extron MLS 100 4x1 Stereo Audio Switcher
Furman MP15 Power Relay
Furman MP20 MiniPort Power Relay
JBL Control 25 loudspeakers
Middle Atlantic MRK-4031 70-inch equipment racks (40RU)
OWI Model 203 loudspeakers
Panasonic PLUG-VC251 built-in computer
Panasonic PT-DW5100U 1280x768 5500 ANSI-lumens DLP projector w/lens,
Panasonic TH-42PH1 42-inch 1024x768 HD plasma displays
Panasonic TY-SP42P7W-K stereo speaker kit
Panasonic TY-TP42P6S touch panel option
Perceptive Pixel interactive rear projection system
Sabine SW70-H13-U-M1 handheld transmitter w/Audix OM3 capsule
Sabine SWA6SS antenna distribution system
Stewart World-600 audio power amplifier
Tascam DV-DV-D01U DVD players
Toshiba TDP-EX20U 1024x7368 2300 ANSI-lumen DLP projectors