Ken Willes Interactive Designer & Developer

Creative Services at Ideum Multi-Touch Kiosk Tower Films
Interactive Wall of Spirituality Interactive 3D Campus Interactive Wall at Yuri’s Night
School of Visual Art and Design Website Interactive Wall Prototype Secret of the Cave Website

Quick facts

  • A digital experience that tells the story of Biblical redemption in visual symbols and gestures.
  • 23 x 7 foot interactive wall custom made for Southern Adventist University (SAU)
  • Collaborative effort involving students at SAU
  • Developed with OpenFrameworks, C++, OpenGL, OpenCV
  • Particle effects, physics, and custom gesture recognition
  • Real-time ambisonic mixing
  • Multi-threaded and highly optimized

What others have said

"Thanks for the many hours of organization, supervision, and sheer work time put into the interactive wall. It was a great success"--Ingrid Skantz, Director of Marketing at SAU

View open-source code

Interactive Wall of Spirituality

The Interactive Wall of Spirituality was commissioned by Southern Adventist University to be displayed during the Seventh-day Adventist world-church conference at the Georgia World Congress Center. The interactive wall was displayed for 10 days with exposure to over 65,000 attendees, and visually illustrated essential parts of the Christian faith such as connecting to God and sharing His light with those around us.

The predominant graphic symbol is the light, which represents God. As participants reach upward, the light from above connects with their hand and fills their digital body with light. Regarding light, Jesus said: "...I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12 NIV).

When a person does not reach up toward the light, their digital body becomes darkened and thorns begin to attach to them. The thorns represent things that get in the way of our relationship with God. Thorns were part of a larger parable that Jesus told describing how individuals receive God into their heart: "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature" (Luke 8:14 NIV).

But as soon as participants reach up toward the light, the thorns break away. This action of reaching up symbolizes faith; it is through faith in God that we connect with Him. The Biblical reference states that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).

Once participants are connected to the light themselves, they can reach out to people around them and share the light with others. Jesus told His followers that "You are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14 NIV). Christians are commissioned to share with others their own personal experience with God.

The Interactive Wall of Spirituality was a complex project involving over a thousand hours of design, engineering, and programming with 10,000+ lines of code. Ken Willes teamed with Interactive Media students from Southern Adventist University's School of Visual Art and Design (both current students and one graduate) to create this interactive wall. At the conference, the reception of the interactive wall was overwhelmingly positive from people of all ages and representing many cultures around the world. Often, individuals returned more than once, bringing friends along so they could also participate in the interactive experience.


  • Ken Willes led the project from initial concept design to final stress tests and merged the diverse facets of the project into one seamless installation.
  • Ben Norskov created computer vision and image warping.
  • Jason Lang created the graphical elements and sound effects.
  • Michael Reynolds created the panner for location-specific sound.