In this installation I matched random people in the audience based on their Last.fm account. I used Roomware to scan for smartphones.
The Roomware server scans the venue for bluetooth devices. Each new device detected showed a new animation on the screen. When someone left the room (for example to go the bathroom) the character on the screen left the stage.
The Eclectro Last.fm lovewall is an interactive installation that uses bluetooth to scan for mobile phones. Visitors are asked to change the bluetooth name of their phone into their Last.fm username.
A laptop scans the room using the open source Roomware software. It connects to random visitors and searches the Last.fm database for similarity. It then shows the similarity on a big screen by showing the profiles. A percentage and five artists both have in common.
The installation worked well and I got a lot of very positive feedback by enthusiastic visitors. A few things I learned.
- It is possible to have a zero percent match but still have artists in common.
- Similar artists are often Gorillaz, U2, Muse, Air.
- It is very easy to join, people see something happen and they think it’s too difficult to join. If you tell them that all it takes is changing the bluetooth name of their mobile phone they are really surprised.
- Explain, explain, explain.
- People like seeing their avatars on a screen. Only showing avatars would probably make a successful application by itself.
- Make the screen dark. I used grey photographs and still the brightness of the beamer lightened up the entire place.
- The internet connection at public places is almost always difficult (unstable/low signal).
The interface with testdata (working demo)
Open in new window
And the photographs
This saturday we have the first Eclectro party in De Unie in Rotterdam (which itself is pretty amazing). It’s the first offline event for something (a group of people blogging) that until saturday does only exist online.
To Eclectrofy this evening we started thinking about doing something extra with the location. How can we make the place visually and interactive exciting as well. Without making it too difficult to use or showing computers.
This reminded me about the Roomware project
The Roomware Project is an open-source framework for interactive spaces. It allows developers of multiple origins to enhance any venue or event using technologies such as BlueTooth and RFID.
What I’m making for this saturday
Basically Roomware turns my Mac into a server that is able to read bluetooth names and convert this data into xml. We will ask people at the party to change the bluetooth name of their mobile phone into the username of their Last.fm account. With these Last.fm names an application searches the Last.fm API and extracts data about two random visitors and tell them how much Last.fm similarity they have and which artists they have in common.
Meet new people
The project autorepeats and makes new random matches with names of people that are actually in the room. The results are projected on a screen. Showing public information about people is a gimmick, but it might encourage visitors to meet new people.
Things to do before this saturday
All the technology works. What’s left is finding a beamer, finishing the design and the timing of the interface. The application doesn’t need much time to load, but I’m thinking about adding finctional timing to make it more exiting to watch.
For example first show one player. Show the second player a few seconds later. And finally show the bar (hearth) that indicates the percentages. And maybe add some hidden messages when people have 0 or 100% Last.fm similarity.
Eclectro presents Kettel (live)
The third man (live), GastÃ³n ArÃ©valo (live) & Starborough (dj-set)
November 15th, De Unie, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Entrance â‚¬ 8,- (order tickets)
I will make a video of the system in action for hypernarrative. You can also visit the party this saturday to play with it youself. We can have a beer :)