IBM Smarter Planet at Disney Epcot

Experiential, Visitor Attractions

A proud moment for Pufferfish when Disney’s Epcot Centre became home to a PufferSphere, as part of the “Smarter Planet” exhibition from Walt Disney Imagineering and IBM.


When launching ‘Smarter Planet’ software on the world, computing giants IBM collaborated with Disney at the world-famous Epcot Centre in Florida to create a visitor attraction where people could get a behind-the-scenes look at technology’s role in creating a world that works better. The experiential exhibit would include interactive kiosks where Epcot’s 10 million visitors could learn about Smarter Planet innovations, such as mobile-phone banking and temperature-monitoring food transportation systems that help prevent spoilage.

Housed within the ‘Innoventions ‘ hall, IBM had a need for a large-format, versatile spherical display and turned to Pufferfish. As bright colour was key to the entire exhibit, aiming to draw in children and adults alike, the sphere would need to meet strict criteria for both size and brightness, delivering a maximum impact display suitable for long-term installation at one of the world’s premier visitor attractions.


Pufferfish specified and designed a never-before-seen solution, utilising a Barco FLM R22+ projector to supercharge the PufferSphere, with an extra 2000 Lumens of light output on top of the current "tour-grade" models. Utilising this 3-chip DLP large venue projector combined with a special spherical-specific lens solution facilitated a uniform high-brightness display with bold colours right across the spherical surface despite the impressively large 3m screen.

Content was designed and produced by IBM, allowing them to build tailor-made spherical content focusing on the issues and themes most relevant to the exhibition. Bold, simple graphics helped to make the best of the large surface area, with colourful icons tiling right across the sphere's surface. Adding movement to the icons further aided the sense of the display as a living canvas.

Summary of outcomes

The PufferSphere create a stunning destination and focal point for the space, anchoring the bank of interactive screens and inviting users towards them to engage. Not only was the sphere able to form a digital globe to become a living embodiment of the "Smarter Planet", but the clever use of iconic info-graphics tied the display into the innovative themes showcased in the surrounding kiosks. The PufferSphere was able to pull crowds from across the room, draw them in and hold their attention as they explored key messages in 360 degrees.

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