Kenji Ross

est. 1980; internets since 1998

The GE Show

2011 – 2012

client
General Electric
my role
Associate Creative Director, Senior Design Technologist
for
The Barbarian Group

I've worked on projects for GE for over a year now, and they've been some of the most exciting and complex work I've done. GE presents fascinating challenges - with business units in so many industries, what do you feature? How do you show off the high-level thinking and innovation (often highly-techincal and difficult to understand), while reminding people that all these ideas come from real people?

The GE Show is one of the ways we make that connection. It employs an episodic format - four long-form "episodes" per season, each focusing on a problem that GE is trying to solve.

Episode six marked my GE Show debut as Associate Creative Director. It asked a simple question: What is the future of flight? We examined the problem from three directions:

  • Terminal Command - An exciting, fast-paced game that challenges users to take control of a busy airport, making sure that each arriving plane gets the service it needs before departure. We later built a special edition of this game for the Oshkosh Air Show, where it was a huge hit.
  • Dreams of Flight - We asked 15 kids what they thought of the future of air travel, then ran their ideas by a couple of GE aerospace engineers to see how feasible their ideas were. The kids were hilarious, and the experts were fantastic. We animated the results and produced a funny, informative video.
  • Points of Departure - A Google Maps and Flickr-powered tour through the world's most interesting airports. Users can browse through 6,000 airports and create lists of their favorites to share over social media. Boing Boing and Metafilter, among others, really liked this one.

Episode seven looked at medical imaging, and the ways we can use both personalized data and aggregate data in the fight against disease. Specifically:

  • A Slice of Life - By slicing everyday objects very thinly, then animating them with stop-motion, we were able to create a real-life analog of the way MRI machines capture images.
  • The Power of Perspective - Physics-based computer animations help to explain the complex way that new cancer research can be personalized to the individual.
  • Pattern Recognition - We showed the modern role of data mining by cross-referencing historical temperature data with birth trends, letting users look for correlations. And by working backwards from user-submitted birthdays, we were able to paint a (pretty hilarious) picture of what might've been on their parents' minds when they were conveived. Gross!

And episode eight, the most recently-launched, looks at the resurgence of manufacturing - both on the macro and the personal levels.

  • Factory Flyovers - This was an incredibly fun piece to make. We hired a crew to fly an HD camera-equipped model helicopter through four of GE's largest US factories, where they test jet engines, build MRI machines, and assemble locomotives. It got fantastic press from places like Creative Review, and the video got over half a million views.
  • Product Pathways - Manufacturing, finish-to-start. In this HTML5 parallax-scrolling piece, we started with a finished wind turbine blade, and worked our way backwards to the forests that the wood came from.
  • Minecraft Mastery - We paid tribute to GE's founder Thomas Edison by building a replica of his Menlo Park, NJ memorial tower... in Minecraft. The combination was magic, the internets loved it, and it too received over half a million hits.
  • The GE Show, episode 8
  • Still from Factory Flyovers video
  • Still from A Slice of Life video
  • Gibraltar airport, from Points of Departure