The Eclectro Last.fm Lovewall installation (video)


Eclectro Last.fm Lovewall (interactive bluetooth installation) from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

Yesterday we had the first Eclectro party. As written in the last post I was working on a bluetooth/last.fm application. And it worked :)

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.

Review
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

Last.fm + Roomware installation
on Flickr

Last.fm + Roomware installation
on Flickr

Opbouwen
on Flickr

Poster Eclectro loves Last.fm bluetooth friendfinder
on Flickr

Zaal
on Flickr

Standby3
on Flickr

Starborough test de dj-tafel
on Flickr

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12 thoughts on “The Eclectro Last.fm Lovewall installation (video)

  1. Very, very fat video! The music is well chosen, and it makes perfectly clear how it went. I’m still amazed by the success of the application, since a lot of people participated and really enjoyed looking at the screen, seeing their names flash by, and reading about the similarities. Sadly, no potential marriages have arisen from the beamed connections :)

  2. Congrats on a successful project Wilbert. Any ideas for a next version? Inge’s joke about marriages might points to an interesting venue for exploration: Once two people are matched, perhaps you can facilitate them meeting up, or doing s’thing together (either at the party or afterwards).

  3. Very well executed! Even though I dislike purpose-build “dating aspects” of social applications it makes perfect sense. People tend to match their book and music taste so it could be a funny side development :)

  4. @ Kars: facilitating the actual meeting up indeed is something that needs to be taken care of.

    I’m not certain if Roomware can do this, but if it can determine position of the bt-device, then it could show on a heatmap (after or during the score screen) where the 2 matched people are standing (and which line they can walk to meet each other).

  5. Nice work Wilbert, and yes, I understand your pain from people not getting how to change their bluetooth name to lastFm user name. Damn that most people just don;t quite get what they can do with their phones. It certainly helps having a information desk and seeding the audience with people helping show how to change the bluetooth name. The great thing still with bluetooth is its price and that most people have it on their phones. RFID while potentially an even cooler and easier to understand tool still has reader costs and interface building prices that are harsh if you want something that you don’t have to directly swipe! Anyone want to sponsor a communal RFID reader + antenna set?;)

  6. @inge although there is no way to reliably triangulate a bluetooth device you can however setup “zones” where each zone is a different BT reader with minimal range. People are then in zone 1, 2 3, etc. And zones can be different rooms, floors, venues or sides of the same hall. Works quite well, we did something like that in kikker in Utrecht once.

  7. Excellent project indeed, well done. Do you think this can be done with area codes and geotagged photos from flickr? I would like to set up an experiment with a transient museum we are currently devising. Big up Roomware and the Eclectro massive!

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