By Sarah Feldberg | Last Updated on
The backstory: Unexpected discoveries
Sensebellum was kickstarted after an unexpected, yet inspiring introduction to the Xbox Kinect that would change a young man's life.
Casey Scalf was attending Western Washington University when the motion-sensing gaming console debuted and, as he puts it, blew him away.
Soon, Casey was experimenting with the device, plugging it into his computer, projecting the image onto his walls.
“I was walking around these digital worlds we made.”
That moment was a catalyst.
“It opened up all these possibilities of using technology and art and making experiences that drive wonder.”
It also sparked a realization that the classroom wasn’t the best place to learn about cutting edge tech.
Casey dropped out of college to found Sensebellum, a company that combines design, technology and engineering to create bold sensory experiences.
Building the business: Thinking outside the everyday
Casey describes Sensebellum’s work as..
“..anything that makes you go, ‘Wow.’
A little bit of entertainment, a little bit of education.”
Today, the company’s portfolio includes:
- modular staging customized with projection mapping or LEDs
- the Sensatorium environment for multimedia exploration
- the Sandbox of Life, an actual sandbox where projected images follow the particles as you rearrange the miniature landscape.
“It’s multi-sensory, it's really fun, but it’s also teaching a little bit about life sciences—geology, biology, oceanography,”
Casey succinctly explains it like this...
“It’s in person; it’s physical; it’s not an app. It brings people together.”
Boosting quality: Doing it right
To bring his installations and interactive art pieces to life, Casey has turned to 3D printing.
“It opened up so many more things. It was like that Kinect moment where you realize, ‘Wow, all these other things are possible,’” he recalls.
At Sensebellum, 3D printing is crucial to creating the custom adapters, clamps and camera housings that allow his vision to become reality.
Casey also prints pieces of his installations, like custom lighting fixtures made with eco3D Light Diffusive filament from Cubicity.
Working with Cubicity, he says, gives him more options and more confidence in the finished product.
“The quality of the filament matters greatly to your enjoyment of 3D printing. We have a very low tolerance for equipment that doesn’t work very well.”
Looking forward: Expansion plans
For Casey, the biggest business challenge is sometimes satisfying his own imagination.
“On some of these things, there’s just no manual written, and you have to write the manual. You have to figure things out yourself.”
So far, he seems to be doing pretty well, and today the founder is focused on growth.
He’d like to expand Sensebellum beyond the Pacific Northwest and bring its brand of interactive art to more permanent locations.
Casey pictures public art installations that belong to a city or university and projections perpetually astonishing visitors to a company lobby.
He says he likes the idea of taking art out of the gallery space and dropping it smack dab in the middle of the street, where anyone can stumble upon it and be inspired.
"You never know who might be walking by, waiting for something to ignite a creative spark."
Using technology to enhance our senses