From telemetry in trace park to the usage of urban (digital) traces

Augmenting amusement rides with telemetry is a paper about how wireless telemetry can be employed to enhance the experience of fairground and theme park. The idea is collect data (video, audio, heart-rate and acceleration) and stream them onto large public display through visualizations:

"The first (shown in Figure 12) presents the audience with a multipanel visualization of the data from the biometrical data monitor and the accelerometer. When using this visualization, video from the helmet camera is projected alongside on a separate screen, and audio is played over the Dana centre’s audio system. The purpose of this combination is to enable experts to talk the audience through some of the live data and the physiological experiences the participant is undergoing. (...) The second visualization presented to the audience is a non-expert visualization of the data (...) demonstrated how we can use telemetry to transform the act of riding an amusement ride into a theatrical event, extending the experience for riders while also enhancing its entertainment value for spectators. "

Nevertheless, the most interesting part is in the conclusion about why these data are worthwile:

"First, such data may allow the detailed analysis of the riding experience, enabling designers to understand at precisely which moments riders feel the most thrill and also how different people react to different rides, supporting the more systematic design of more thrilling rides. A second possibility is to design future rides that directly adapt to individual riders’ preferences or past history, for example tuning their movements in response to telemetry data, providing a more personalized riding experience than is currently possible. Third, this kind of telemetry system could be used as a marketing tool by enabling amusement rides to be reliably rated for the experience they deliver. The fourth and final possibility concerns extending the spectator experience to include ‘tele-riding’ through a more immersive presentation of the telemetry data such as a through a 3D simulation that could even be experienced by remote friends and family at a distance over the Internet."

Why do I blog this? my interest in people's behavior in space and place makes me wondering about all the "traces" one could leave and how they can be used, why they're relevant. This paper gives a good highlight about these reasons.

My interest is not in the theme park thing but rather in seeing the parallels between this experiment and the data generated in urban computing contexts. As I mentioned here, there are already different use of space/time representations of people in cities (make explicit phenomenon that are invisible, give users some feedback, create new services based on this information). So does this paper bring new elements to the table? In a sense yes, the last excerpt I quoted gives new type of usage for that matter. Let's dig more the analogy between the city and a theme park.

Walker, B., Schnädelbach, H., Egglestone, S.R., Clark, A., Orbach, T., Wright, M., Ng, K.H., Rodden, T., Benford, S. and French, A., “Augmenting Amusement Rides with Telemetry”, In Proceedings of ACE 2007, Salzburg, Austria.