The founder of “Media Motion, Inc, Harvey Altman started building custom mechanisms in the late 1970’s for the likes of “Karl Springer”, “Vladamir Kagan”, “Jay Spectre”, and “Parrish Hadley”. It all started quite by accident when Mr. Altman was asked to solve a problem for a local cabinet-maker in “New York City” that had sold a concept to a client. Unfortunately, the person given the technical aspect of the job, as well as a deposit, was nowhere to be found. The project called for a custom corner cabinet in a master bedroom housing a TV to open its door, slide the TV forward, and rotate the TV 45 degrees for comfortable viewing. All of this with the push of a single button, at a time when this type of home automation was virtually unheard of. Mr. Altman was, at that time, designing and building remote controlled central stereo systems which were also quite rare in the late 1970’s. The cabinet-maker built a full-scale mock-up of the cabinet section to be automated and supplied this to Mr. Altman. After a few trials and tribulations, a mechanism, and synchronized controller were created. The machinery was then fabricated by a machinist and Mr. Altman designed and wired the controller. The systems worked so well that the next owner of the apartment (at U.N Plaza) kept and enjoyed it for many years. After this device was created, word got out in the tightly knit custom furniture community, that motorized movements for furniture were available on a custom basis.
Since that time many exotic creations have been built. Mostly for high-end clients whose anonymity must be maintained. In certain cases, a non-disclosure agreement had to be signed in order to even be issued the project. Suffice it to say these are names most people would immediately recognize. In the late 1980’s the firm moved to “South Forida”, where it remains to this day. Projects on yachts, the occasional private jet, and mega-homes are our most common venues. In one case, at the last minute, a private screening room for an international media mogul, required the video projector be moved out of the way in order to load film in the 35mm movie projectors. This was a last minute change due to a slight oversight on the home theater contractor’s part. It was rectified rather quickly since time was a major factor at that late date in the project. Even the machinery was shipped “overnight” to expedite completion of the project. Mr. Altman then flew to “New York” to install the system. Once installed, the video projector, on command, traversed the ceiling of the projection booth, then, once at the rear of the room, pivoted ninety degrees to tuck itself against the rear wall. When required, the projector reversed these movements and returned to its projection position.
The most exotic location for an installation has to be the "Situation Room" at "Offutt Air Force Base" in Nebraska. This is where President George W. Bush ran the country during the 911 attack. We built a motorized tele-conferencing system into the custom built main conference table. This comprised 5 mechanisms. The largest of which was a telescopic 61 inch plasma tv lift that had to travel greater than its retracted heaght in order to place the tv virtually "on the floor" in order to fit into the conference table. The mechanism raised the 61 inch plasma tv, and, once in viewing position, a secondary lift mechanism riding "piggy-back" behind the tv, raised a bank of five articulatable closed circuit television cameras which "peeked" over the top of the tv.In addition, a pair of additional closed circuit television camers flanking each side of the 61 inch plasma tv had independent lift mechanisms of their own. A fifth m echani sm lowered a decorative closure panel in front of the tv to expose the bottom-most postion of the image as space was quite tight in the conference table. This project was contracted to us by "AVI Systems of Omaha, Nebraska, under the direction of "Lockheed Martin". Five pages of specifications that had to be met for speed, noise, durability, manual override capability for all functions, and many other parameters, were supplied to us by "Lockheed Martin". The mechanisms and master control module were shipped to AVI Systems for their handling of the installation in the "Situation Room".
This is simply one example of what can be achieved. In this particular case a logistical difficulty was solved with a custom mechanism dedicated to the application. The applications are wide and varied. Some are whimsical and theatrical, while others are simply practical. Scale and capacity can be overcome. What is required, is an open and receptive mind. Conception is the first step to fruition..