MIT Graduate Students are Using London Eye as an Olympic “Mood Ring”
Boston Globe reports The London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel on the Thames River, has been engineered to reflect the UK’s mood towards the Olympic Games. Three MIT graduate students are behind the development. The mood is expressed in the color of lights on the Ferris wheel, and is derived from the content of Twitter messages that people are sending. Yellow means there is a positive feeling towards the Olympic Games.
The MIT students who developed this technology which translates social media content into a visual mood display have formed their own company, Sosolimited. Some of the words which help them assign the moods are fear, tears, amazement. These metrics could be a breakthrough for viewers whether they are watching the games via the Internet, cable television, or tracking updates through the web.
EDF, the official supplier of energy to the Olympics, hired Sosolimited to demonstrate the intensity of the British people’s feeling towards this monumental sports event. Sosolimited spent four months creating this innovative technology that is highlighting the Olympic Games in London. Thanks to millions of UK sports fans, this year’s games are being called the “Twitter Olympics”.
Sosolimited’s three founders began as a performance group focusing on a combination of art and technological methods to present data in newer, more relevant ways. The group has created installation art work including some political pieces. A political installation for the 2010 UK prime minister debates gained attention for the company, resulting in the Olympic mood contract award.
Whether or not you attend the Summer Games, your feelings about them as expressed on Twitter may contribute to the display. Energy of the Nation, created by Sosolimited, is the world’s first social media light show.
How Many Olympic Viewers can be Expected?
The number of Olympic Game viewers has been very strong and will only increase as technology reaches the most remote and economically underdeveloped corners of the planet.
According to the Olympic Tour Operators Association, in Summer Games, 80 percent of the world’s population having access to modern communication media, viewed at least some Olympic Games. As the 2008 world population was 6.7 billion, Olympic viewing on TV was 15 percent to 60 percent of the world population. Today, four years later, communication devices have spread even to areas of the globe that are off the grid. Solar chargers are utilized in very remote areas. Global Times tells the story of how Direct Broadcast Satellite Receivers are bringing TV to the most rugged and remote areas of China. It is predicted that by 2015, all herdsmen in the remote Gansu province will have access to TV. With technological improvements, eventually everyone will have the communication resources available to more affluent and developed countries.
EnglishClub reports that more than nine million tickets to the 2012 London Summer Olympics have been sold. Based on previous Olympics viewing figures and world access to live media, it’s expected that 2.6 billion people worldwide will be watching.
Unifying Our Planet
Technology, art, communication and a universally popular international sporting event like the Olympics brings everyone together. Thanks to Sosolimited, we can have a visual representation of our feelings to enforce this sense of unity.