Festivals are without doubt an important sphere of the experience economy, at the same time technology advancement has changed consumer behaviour to the point that consumers are no longer bored, as they play whether they are waiting in a queue or students supposedly listening to a lecture. Tweeting, tagging and posting are mainstream words in the English language as consumers update profiles and tell their friends in real time. As Dr Ian Yeoman discussed previously, trends shaping the present include the experience economy is here, right now, the digital revolution, a networked society, the mobile in daily life, the rise of gaming cultures, how leisure has become real time experience through technology and the consumers desire for immediacy. So, what is the future? Eleven quantum leaping technologies that could radically enhance the play – technology paradigm for music festival goers. The term quantum leaping technologies are used given the pace of change in the personal technology sphere. These technologies range from cerebral networks where music festival goers could see, hear, smell and feel the experience through artificial neurons, to the future of clothing made up of microprocessors and LEDs to create smart textiles which enhance the feel of the festival, to digital tattoos which allow music festival goers to record their experiences.
Glastonbury, the world's most popular and celebrity music festival. A place to see Elton John Jr, the Top Cats, XX Top and Zion Hell play. This is the diary of Bridgette Wilson, a twenty five year old from London who has just completed an MSc Nanotechnology Textile Design. Bridgette, has a passion of technology, all the latest gadgets and is the particularly proud of the new interactive iLens IX that at a twitch can access the virtual world. Glastonbury is 'the' festival to be at and Bridgette and friends have their tickets for Glastonbury 2050. Bridgette has a passion for music of all types, whether it is pop, glamour or zing tang.
Over 200 artists are playing at Glastonbury including some new haptic 3D and avatar versions. In pyramid 22, Elton John Junior is performing a rendition of Rocket Man and Bridgette and her digital tattoo performs the original from 1972. Bridgette then starts to think about rockets, NASA, the moon and enters a dream of floating in outer space all to the background of the Elton John's music. Fantastic she thinks. Her dream management recording system captures all of that and she decides her rendition with her friends and family via her semantic sphere. Moving to pyramid 32, Hunky Mike is in full flow. Crikey, she really feels sexy, her clothes have created a sexual arousal in response to his six pack and sensational music. In pyramid 33, she can feel the vibrations of zing music through her bracelet indicator. This music is heavy, fast and loud – a head banger special. She decides she needs a beer and purchases a couple of London Pride's using her contact lens retinal recognition system. In pyramid 43, The Avatar Xeatles are playing a range classic hits – she quickly gets into the groove with a sense of flowers, the 1960s and Abbey Road. The music even gets mixed with Elvis Priestly, Pixie Dott and Tinchy Wink. Bridgette is now creating her own music, mixing it up with feelings and artists. Who's this she says next, bumping into Maxine Wong on the dance floor. Quickly, using her facial recognition system finds out everything about Maxine from the semantic sphere. "Hi Maxine, how's Rosie the cat these days" Bridgette enquires. What a concert, she's been bopping all day long and captured all the concert for remixing later. Can't wait till next year, all my friends will be so envious.
Advances in nanotechnologies will allow the transmission of information to others. Bridgette can see, hear, smell and feel the experience as she immerses herself into the festival experience. How does this work? These are artificial neurons that resemble biological neurons and are a part of nanotechnologies advancement, that are connected to several biological ones. As part of parallel computation technology, these are used to change the connections between the 'artificial neurons' and biological neurons. Cerebral networks are composed of interconnecting artificial neurons (programming constructs that mimic the properties of biological neurons) and through reversal deactivation techniques, the cerebral network is dynamic, contributing to several behaviour through single nodes. Its plasticity tends to minimise induced deficits and contributes to network operations through feed–forward and lateral connections.
While cerebral networks record your experiences, new systems will allow people to play back and enjoy those experiences. Today, music festival goers already have digital tattoos which uses a platform implanted beneath the skin on your arm. It then taps into your bloodstream, converting the oxygen and glucose into electric power. The display then "works" by changing the colour of smart–ink pixels tattooed over the implant. In the scenario, the tattoo acts as a touchscreen input device, so you could manage your cellphone calls or access the internet by tapping on your arm.
While brain implants and digital tattoos may appeal to some, other may prefer classic digital devices. For example, Philips Rationalizer concept is an emotional mirror which reflects a person's emotional levels. It uses an on-wrist monitor and a small display that alerts the user when emotions are getting high as this data is transformed into a pattern through colour intensity that is reflected by the on-wrist monitor. Therefore, the higher the emotions, the higher the colour intensity which shifts from a soft yellow, via orange to a deep red.
The future of clothing won't just be plain but clothing material will have microprocessors and LEDs to create smart textiles. Clothes made entirely of circuit boards could be used to generate music, and also be a garment that will record a heartbeat and be able to remix it into music . As the scenario states, smart textiles will be able to sense the environment, sense the stimuli from the environment and react to them and also have the gift to adapt behaviour to the circumstances. This will make clothing to be considered a second skin as it will be brought into an individual's intimate space. And in order to enable this smart textile, there is need for two component, mainly a sensor and an actuator complete with a processing unit which drives the actuator on the basis of signals from the sensor. Thus an intelligent garment will have five functions basically sensors, data processing, actuators, storage and communication.
Semantic is the meaning behind something one says, and the Semantic Web is the future generation in World Wide Web (WWW) technology, facilitating machines to understand the meaning of information on the WWW (as illustrated in the scenario as the semantic sphere). It is therefore defined as, 'a web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines'. Powerset and Hakia are the major two companies that are involved in this new technology. Powerset is a search engine focused on processing natural language by understanding semantic meaning of an entire phrase and not just one word. On the other hand, Hakia's mission is to deploy semantic search solutions to meet challenges of elevated user expectation, business efficiency and lowest cost. Its goal is to improve search performance and enable search experience to be closer to human interaction.
Content curation is a highly proactive and selective approach to finding, collecting, presenting and displaying digital content around predefined sets of criteria and subject matter. It can take many forms for example, feeds such as on YouTube, blogs or even links that can be uploaded on social media and there are no limits when it comes to the types of content either whereby videos, articles, pictures, songs or any piece of online digital content that can be shared can be curated.
Technology will enhance the experience bringing about a virtual experience. For example, holograms are slowly becoming a reality today. A hologram is a 3 dimensional photograph made with the aid of a laser, which can serve multiple functions, e.g. as a combined lens, aspheric corrector, beam combiner and narrow filter. This technology is moving on to television sets in the form of 3D Holographic television which could potentially be projected on a table for people to watch.
By 2050, festival goers will be able to overplay their dreams through a content lens (as Bridgette does) in order to imagine and enhance experiences along with image recognition and emotion detection. These dreams will also be recorded and be downloaded for future use. Festival goers will be able to move Glastonbury to Bali, Las Vegas or create their space. Does this sound a bit fanciful? Recent work by California researchers could pave the way to reproduce and play back the movies in our minds that is, our dreams and memories. Members of the research team at the University of California, Berkeley served as test subjects in their own study. While sitting in a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanner, they watched two separate sets of Hollywood movie trailers while the fMRI measured blood flow through the visual cortex, the part of our brains that processes visual information.
In the scenario, Bridgette orders a beer via the festival's mind reading ordering and delivery bar service, today consumers can use our minds to play video games. Hong Kong based technology developer has launched a children's game harnessing the power of the mind. The 3D Vision Gesture Control System is a highly precise user interface for interacting with any display screen from any distance. The depth tracking software enables users to control on screen interaction with simple hand motion instead of using a remote control, keyboard or touch screen. It allows people to have the ability to a 3D Avatar control while interacting in real time with computer generated characters and objects.
This involves the science of applying the sense of touch in human-computer interaction, and is used to cover a variety of distinct sub-types including proprioceptive (general sensory information about the body), vestibular (the perception of head motion), kinaesthetic (the feeling of motion in the body) and cutaneous (sensory information from the skin). These haptic sensations are created by actuators or motors which create vibrations that are managed and controlled by embedded software, and integrated into device user interface and application via controlled software.
A good festival can change the way you see the world. In the scenario, Bridgette uses her facial recognition software via contact lens to recognise and search about Maxine Wong, a function that is available in smart phones today. Basically, display technology for creating visual images occurs when laser light is scanned directly on to the viewer's retina to create a perception of a virtual image. A very small spot is focused onto the retina and is swept over in a raster pattern. A contact lens is being developed that can give visual feedback to the wearer using an embedded central processing unit. It can glean data from the wearer’s eyes and transmit the data somewhere else. This does not however, require terribly complex tech to create an augmented reality interface and with the help of laser imaging, a sharp enough interface can be created to overlay on the eye.
Dr Ian Yeoman is presently writing a full research paper about the future of music festivals with colleagues based upon the above ideas. Ian and colleagues will be presenting their thoughts on the topic at the forthcoming events management conference at Ulster University in June 2012. This paper is inspired by a publication authored by the Orange and Future Laboratory in 2010.
Previous Viewpoint articles can be found in the Archive here.
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Ian speaks at TEDx Groningen on the Future of Tourism here.
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