X-Lab stands for the Experience Laboratory, and represents a culmination of many of the technological and creative innovations that Falcon's has pioneered worldwide. The name says it all, as this has become the laboratory where we sculpt and vigorously test our experiential concepts—where the thinkers and the tinkerers on our team gather to bring the studio's dreams into the real world. The space has grown into a veritable crucible for research and development, centered right here at our main offices in Orlando.
As with many things that are built to last, the genesis of X-Lab was a natural one, evolving organically over time from our needs for additional working space. Although we did not set out with the intent to create a research and development headquarters in-house, we found ourselves constantly pushing the envelope with burgeoning technologies and testing the bounds of experience design with each new project and client.
These efforts initiated within pockets of the studio, but the needs only accelerated as we began to implement and install our patented Falcon's Licensing products internationally. We quickly outgrew our makeshift hackerspaces, and had to look toward expanding into a dedicated location for larger media mockups and hardware experimentation. Before knowing what this multipurpose area would evolve into, we first dubbed it simply the Falcon's Showroom.
A major impetus in choosing the location for this original showroom was finding a sufficient nearby volume to house the full-size hardware of our patented theater product: the SpheronLT™ Dome Theater. Though it remains the smallest of our dome theater products by footprint, this miniature behemoth still spans a 25-foot diameter with 16 mounted projectors producing 6K resolution at 60 frames per second, which we utilize for render testing, experiential design, and product showcasing for client tours. It would eventually become the centerpiece of the X-Lab, and it needed a home.
Situated immediately across the plaza, with adjacent proximity to the studio, this showroom quickly proved itself the most useful and accessible space for the myriad of multifaceted research tasks we undertake in our eclectic project scopes across themed entertainment, architectural and hospitality design, interactive experiences, special venues, food and retail, visual effects, and 3D media, among many others.
Being visible from the window of Cecil's corner office on the third floor only enhanced the appeal of the space, and Cecil made the call to incorporate it fully into our studio ecosystem, including branding the building facade with our largest Falcon's Creative Group logo.
Admittedly, we have had more than one guest arrive at the studio and first come to the X-Lab doors before the main offices, as the signage is quite inviting and prominent from both entries to the grounds!
X-Lab as it exists today is an entirely new beast. Originally housing only our SpheronLT™ and mechanical product model mockups (which some of our industry friends may have seen at IAAPA), one of the biggest internal studio projects over the last year has been reimagining the SpheronLT™ to include a full 30-foot high riser system, that hoists the entire dome overhead for a spectacular theater lift reveal. Now, as guests walk into the “empty” open X-Lab for a showcase or tour, they are stunned to see the massive overhead theater system, and blown away when it descends on all sides around them, alive with 3D content.
Once we achieved liftoff, we knew the space had evolved well beyond just a showroom, and the X-Lab was truly born anew.
We have now figuratively and literally lifted the limits on our creativity and technological capacity, and have been utilizing this incredible invention space to push the boundaries of our notions of experience design. Being able to fully test and implement ideas and technologies from the very beginning of the conceptual phase arms us with the clay to mold completely new and unique experiences, never being tied down to any technical limitations or existing implementations.
This freedom to explore design without boundaries has heavily influenced our design process, and led to the development and enhancement of several new products. From our handsfree gesture control interactive theater, to our multiplayer 3D gaming holodeck—both of which have full-size working mockups complete with projectors and body tracking—many of our newest and most exciting products soon to be revealed to the world were born and continue their evolution within the walls of X-Lab.
The vision for the future of X-Lab is one where our conceptual wish lists become our technical to-do lists. Where experiential ideation meets turnkey implementation, and we can open our doors to showcase working demonstrations of future technologies to guests and clients across the globe.
We see X-Lab as a game-changer in how we can approach sales and demonstrations—rather than displaying the capabilities of our designs through presentation, we can bring clients here, to truly experience imagination in tangible terms, directly interacting with our phenomenal patented products and cutting-edge production prototypes in person. Nothing speaks to the experience of themed entertainment more than living it, and X-Lab is a space that comes alive all around you.
Even beyond our concrete features, some tantalizing opportunities lay on the horizon for X-Lab to expand our in-house production capabilities in groundbreaking ways. We have fully tested and have now begun implementing the core infrastructure for both a professional marker-based Motion Capture stage system, as well as a live, real-time Virtual Production stage—but we can leave those for another time. Have no doubt that there is plenty more to be excited about. X-Lab is here, and this is only the beginning!
Robb offers talents in architecture, engineering, software development, applied mathematics, urban planning, visual effects, automation, and project management. His wide range of knowledge makes him a versatile 'swiss army knife' for our creative and technical teams, both in brick and mortar design and digital content development.
He has been a pivotal team leader for major international projects, with responsibilities ranging from executive production and technical direction to project supervision and client communication—all with the same unshakable outlook and willingness to tackle any challenge that comes his way.