THIS IS NOT A SIMULATION

A one night event held on Thursday 27 October 2005
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA

Eric Paulos (Intel Research)      Anthony Burke (UC Berkeley)      David Ross (UC Berkeley).
also many thanks to Josh Smith, Karen Marcelo, and Tom Jenkins for their assistance in realizing the project


 Where are we? Locative media, GPS in car navigation, and the barrage of emerging location technologies are upon us? Somehow more than ever we find ourselves lost in the sea of longitudes and latitudes. A new wireless numerology?  We invite you to thrust yourself within a space where mobs, crowds, tuples, and even the wallflower are active participants in a delicious interactive architecture of interwoven patterns. Tags, RFID, and tessellated surfaces thrust themselves into a feedback system generously lubricated by alcohol.


This installation explores the difference of statistically projected behaviors through an over-mapping with actual behavior. Using RFID tags and a range of antennas each corresponding to a particular behavioral zone, the group and individual behavior of participants at an event is tracked, logging in event statistics, such as an individuals duration of stay, time of entry, and favored geographic locations (near the bar, the lounge etc). A corresponding event specific set of forecasted data is used to geometrically construct a tessellated screen that indicates where average behaviors should occur, through the scale of the tessellations and 3 dimensional depth of the surface. During the actual event, people can track themselves through their unique RFID number, with their location and time information projected onto the screen in real time, creating a cross referencing of real and forecast information, that is highly event and location specific.

This installation was first presented at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in October 2005.


Watch a video of the event and installation - 1:40mins (Quicktime)... Small 9.6mb... Large 30.6mb

Video by Jill Miller editing by Tom Jenkins


Images from the event... click on thumbnails to enlarge
Thank you to Declan McCullagh and Jake Appelbaum for the images below.

180 ID tag stickers

180 ID tag stickers

red zones

tessellated surface - simulated data

live data - overlaid image

live data - monitor view

1 of 4 color coded RFID readers

Karen Marcelo, Eric Paulos,
Anthony Burke

Visualizations of the tessellated projection screen... click to enlarge

Technical Details

  The overall system used four antennas attached to a single Alien ALR-9780 reader.  Java code was used to parse the data from the reader and generate the visualization.  The tags distributed were the ALL-9350-02 I RFID Tags.

The visualization was comprised of people (horizontal) and time (vertical).  Each individual was represented in a whole column.  The four regions were each color coded.  Each time an individual was detected in a specific region there ID number was flashed on the screen and the corresponding color denoted in their color for the current time.  A horizontal line indicated current time and was advanced downward ever minute.  Individuals that were not detected faded in color until they turned black.  Enter a new region generated a new color for the current time user's column. 

Since the ID tags were handed out in numeric order you can see people first arriving at the party.  Later you can see them change color as they move around and eventually turn black when they leave.  The image represents a unique view of the social dynamics at play at this event.


No Place to Hide at RFID Tracking Party by Declan McCullagh in CNET News October 2005

Eric Paulos         Intel Research Berkeley

Legal Information and Privacy Policy