Olympics 2012: London Eye Ferris Wheel Changes Color Based on Tweets

Jul 26, 2012 10:54am
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Image credit: EDF

London is jumping on the trend to bring Twitter to inanimate objects. On the heels of Stanley, the piano that took requests via Twitter, London’s Eye Ferris Wheel is getting some Twitter integration.

For the next two months (through the end of the Paralympics), the EDF Energy London Eye, situated on the Thames River, will change the color of its lights based on London’s Twitter sentiment. EDF Energy, the official electric supplier and sponsor of the 2012 Olympics, has partnered with Boston-based Sosolimited, a company specializing in art and technology, to bring the tweets to the wheel.

“For the Olympics they [the EDF] really wanted to capture the energy of the nation. They approached us about how to turn the sentiment of the nation into a value that we could express on the London Eye,” John Rothenberg, Sosolimited’s co-founder, told ABC News.

Just like the technology behind Stanley, a program collects tweets specifically within the city of London about the Olympics; it looks for hashtags and specific words. Those tweets are then filtered and run through SentiStrength’s algorithm that figures out if the tweet is full of positive or negative energy.

The operators of the show can then look at the overall energy on a minute-by-minute basis. Each 24 hours of data is then compressed into a 24-minute light show. The show happens twice a night, at 9 and 10.

“A lot of people expected the sentiment to be negative, but we found it is actually quite positive. The vast majority of people are enthusiastic about the Olympics,” Rothenberg said.

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