Glasgow researchers catching your eye at Celtic Connections festival

Visitors to the 21st Celtic Connections festival will have the chance to hold the world in their hands at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall from today (Thursday 16 January).

Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing Science have teamed up with Edinburgh-based display developer Pufferfish Ltd to create an eye-catching illuminated globe which will provide information on 25 of the festival’s top acts.

A computer-controlled display will project a high-resolution image of a world map onto the 600-mm spherical display’s touch-sensitive surface. Users can ‘spin’ the image, which is marked with the locations of artists’ home cities, and tap on artists’ names to find out more about their work and festival gigs.

Glasgow researchers catching your eye

In addition to providing an unusual source of useful information to Concert Hall visitors, a set of small cameras placed around the display will provide the research team with feedback on their reactions.
Research associate Dr Julie Williamson, who led the project, said: “This is the result of four months of work to develop the content to show on the PufferSphere display and determine how we could best measure visitors’ responses.

“We’re really interested in finding out more about how technology influences pedestrian traffic in public spaces, a process we call performative interaction. We want to know how long people spend at the display and whether they use it alone or in groups. We wanted to get involved with Celtic Connections because it attracts so many visitors from around the world and we were delighted when they agreed to help.

“We’re planning to continue our research with another public display at the University campus next month.”

Dr Williamson worked on the project with product designer Daniel Sundén and Pufferfish Ltd’s software manager Dr Jay Bradley and sales and marketing manager Ben Allan.

SICSA Future Cities Theme Launch

We are pleased to announce the launch of the SICSA Future Cities Theme which kicked off in December with an academic led workshop to discuss the research challenges and future direction of this exciting area. Theme leader, Dr Matthew Chalmers had the following to say on the topic:

“Future cities offers an intellectual and funding opportunity, in that the area is beginning to receive a strong push by government, industry and research funding organisations. This new cross–disciplinary topic involves large-scale socio–technical systems spanning computer science and urban design—with connections to a multitude of other disciplines. Our aim is to establish mutual awareness of skills and priorities, connect research activities in SICSA to the smart/future cities work already being implemented in UK urban areas and beyond, and initiate applications for funding of longer-term research.”

We look forward to seeing exciting collaborations between SICSA institutions and industry emerge as a result of this, and of course wish Matthew every success with this new theme.