GUI Interface

Stearns Digital GUI

A webpage based GUI that allows control of planetarium equipment connected via the East Coast Control Systems Universal Theater Control System (UTCS). These devices include star machines, cove lights, video projectors, special effects, slide projectors, and anything else normally accessed using the Hercules control software. The GUI is a Java-based program that provides a user interface viewable in an Internet browser on a computer or mobile device such as a tablet or phone.


The look and feel of the GUI can be customized for each installation with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Multiple interfaces can be created for specific lessons.

Any computer or mobile device connected to the GUI network can view the interface.

Allows the presenter to move about the planetarium to provide a more interactive presentation.


A Windows, Mac, or Linux computer to serve as host for the Java server.

A wireless network accessible by the host computer and mobile devices used to display the interface.

A working Hercules computer system for the GUI to communicate.


Examples from custom installations


Jon Bell
Jon Bell
Director, Hallstrom Planetarium, Indian River State College

Hi Paul,

Just wanted to let you know, today was my first successful use of the One Ring’s shutter control button during an actual show – very, very happy!

Katy Accetta
Katy Accetta
Planetarium Specialist, Schuele Planetarium, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Using the GUI for ChromaCove has greatly improved our show quality.  We are now able to keep our command of the theater by staying in front of our audiences and still control the lighting system.  If anything, the new abilities with the GUI system have added another layer of mystery to our planetarium shows. With the addition of this system, we can now do our entire presentation from the middle of the room from dimming the lights to start to ending the program and the raising of the lights all without going back to the computers once!

Jason Mills
Jason Mills
Planetarium Director, Southampton Middle School Planetarium, Harford County Public Schools

The GUI has completely changed the way I teach in the planetarium.  I am no longer confined to the console talking to my audience, I can now move around the theater and converse with my audience.  Presentations are much more interactive and personal.  Kids are blown away when I let them slide the daily motion slider and they make the sky move themselves.  The level of inquiry and questioning has also rocketed up as I have much more freedom to interact with audience members.  Having preset lighting schemes (daytime blue, light pollution, red house lights, etc.) is amazing.  Instantly, and consistently changing the lighting in the planetarium, a huge bonus!  I find that even when I am at the console and using the controls (which is rare…) I still use the GUI for lighting.

Maintenance is also so much easier.  No more back-and-forth to the console making adjustments or turning the lights on and off.  I just keep the iPad at the projector and can control everything from right there.

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