2018-2019 Team

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Our Project

Opportunity Space

The David Letterman Learning Experience started as a collection of items given to Ball State University by David Letterman after his retirement from late night television in 2015. The original thought was to create a museum-like experience in which artifacts from the Letterman collection would be displayed for students to visit and see. However, after being passed along to the Emerging Media Design and Development graduate class, the idea started to shift towards something less static and more engaging.  In 2018, David Letterman gave his blessing for the development of the DLLE, which included design and construction of a prototyping lab. Over the next 18 months, a team of DLLE graduate students in the Center for Emerging Media Design & Development collaborated with an interdisciplinary group of undergraduates to complete a number of cutting-edge projects. The purpose of the David Letterman Learning lab is to guide visitors through an engaging, interactive, immersive experience that uses many dense stories about David Letterman’s life and career to explore other external stories connected to Letterman, his career, Indianapolis, the Muncie community, and much more.

The 2018-2019 cohort of students explored innovative approaches to storytelling and created several multimedia presentations that brought the Letterman Collection to life. To house all of their work, students were given a four-room lab to work in, hold meetings, and brainstorm. They were also given cutting-edge technologies for experimentation, including:

  • A 7-foot by 5-foot interactive, touchscreen wall with 32 points of touch
  • A 55-inch flat-surface touch table with 80 points of touch and a 4K display
  • Four iPad Pros + display kiosks
  • Beacons that pinpoint and push content to mobile devices based on location and proximity
  • Android TV for experiencing interactive multimedia content from the comfort of a couch
  • A high-end 3D printer to create physical objects that interact with digital experiences
  • Virtual reality headsets and gear for developing immersive multimedia experiences
  • Google Home technology for creating voice-based interactive experiences
  • Six high-end computers to generate 3D models, interactive content, videos, and more

Project Focus

How might we leverage the rich storytelling potential of the Letterman Collection to create an ongoing, experiential learning environment for Ball State students that allows them to experiment with storytelling, technology, and art?

Our Projects

Physical Exhibit and VR Tour

The space will include exhibitions such as a designated area for interacting with David Letterman’s Late Show desk through AR/VR experiences, a backstage hallway that immerses visitors into artifacts associated with periods of Dave’s career, and a large wall screen with interactive and engaging technology that includes more stories from Dave’s career. There will also be designated areas for iPad technology kiosks that will allow users to learn about more of the artifacts from the collection. Last, there will be visual representations of Dave over the years of his career with a timelined collage of images and associated content such as audio recordings, transcripts, and other content for visitors to engage with.

Molten glass is pressed into shape in the Glick Center.

Large Wall Screen

The “Large Wall Screen” experience began as an initial requirement for the David Letterman Learning Experience. The prototype of the large wall screen contains narratives about selective artifacts from the David Letterman collection. These artifacts were chosen based on their rich research content and ability to connect to other artifacts or themes within the collection. 

The prototype interactive is structured around two primary categories that best summarize the content within. These categories are: Sports, and Entertainment. Four collections of artifacts were chosen to represent each category with links and outside collection content, e.g. videos, and articles. The size of the prototype screen (7’ x 5’) and the use of the program, ‘Intuiface’ determined the number of categories developed during this stage of the project. Narrative content is also paired with images (both from within and outside of the collection), and video. A “pop-up” feature was designed to provide users additional information about unfamiliar terms, places, or people, mentioned in the narrative.

Pop-Up Exhibits

The students also created two pop-up exhibits centering around artifacts and information in the David Letterman collection. The first pop-up exhibit was inspired by an old magazine featuring Dave from the 80’s, and the exhibit was meant to replicate a life-sized magazine. The team developed creative activities for pop-up exhibitions to engage our visitors.
 The second pop-up exhibit was centered around the theme of, “Pursue Your Passions.” It showcased the  “Learning with Dave” AR  experience, and students created physical and digital interactives for visitors to engage with.
Students explore the pop-up magazine exhibit in the lobby of the David Letterman Building.
The augmented reality wall is a brick wall with four main images; when users scan the images on their phone, extra videos, photos, and information pop up about Dave's life.

Augmented Reality Wall

The augmented reality experience is designed to enhance photographs and physical objects displayed in the exhibition. Users scan a marker on an item to launch the experience on a mobile device. The goal of the experience is to surprise users with unexpected interactions that include video, audio, and animation. 

Learning From Dave

“Learning From Dave” is an extension of the David Letterman Learning Experience as a digital archive of interviews with professional skill building content addressed to the student user. This experience exists as a multimedia tool for student learning. It is built with interactive video segments and state-of-the-art-technologies. 

Student stands near the touch table in the letterman lab.

The current platform for “Learning From Dave” is a multi-touch tabletop interface. This interactive experience has the ability to expand every time a David Letterman Lecture series speaker is on campus. Students have the opportunity to practice their interviewing and communication skills. These interviews will then be added to the interactive experience. 

President Mearns exploring the Late Night Laughs iPad experience.

iPad Kiosks

The overall goal of the iPad presentations within the David Letterman Learning Experience Exhibition is to provide a more intimate and individualized experience with content from David Letterman’s life. The use of the iPads will not only allow the exhibition to become more interactive, but it will give users access to more unique stories beyond what the physical objects can provide. Three iPad Experiences were developed for this project : Dave’s Life Before Fame, Kudos Dave, and Late Night Laughs. 

Dave's Life Before Fame

This iPad experience will be based off of the narrative theme of the “the life of pre-celebrity David Letterman,” or essentially the Letterman the world doesn’t know. This theme is broken down into three main categories: Dave’s childhood, his years at Ball State University, and then the years of his early career up until he received his first day time show, “The David Letterman Show.” A secondary theme can be seen within this iPad experience and that is “Dave’s journey to fame.” This theme becomes evident when looking at Letterman’s entire pre-celebrity life

Kudos, Dave!

The David Letterman collection has a total of about 25-30 awards that Letterman received throughout his career. The awards timeline will be scalable in design, and for the current iPad presentation there will be five functioning awards within a presentation of around 10. This means that five of the awards will be clickable and give the user access to additional narratives and content, while the other awards will be present in the timeline but not clickable. This will allow the user to scroll through more awards to show how a complete timeline would look, but not all of the awards

Late Night Laughs

Late Night Laughs is a secondary iPad experience that will be paired with David Letterman’s desk from the set of the Late Show with David Letterman. This experience features a video gallery of Letterman’s most memorable interviews. This presentation adds context to the desk as a physical object, as well as compiles some of the most famous moments within Dave’s career. This video gallery gives older visitors who know David Letterman the opportunity to reminisce, and it gives younger visitors a sense of familiarity with Dave through some of the most well-known clips of his career.