CityWall - public use of multi-touch screens

CityWall - Helsinki, Finland

Lately, the concept of multi-touch has been widely discussed by various institutions. However, the initiatives I have witnessed, artistic proposals aside, lack some substance, depth and utility - they are mere show-off exercises. Finally, I stumbled upon this Nordic project called CityWall. With the use of experimental technology and collaborative web concepts, this project is truly inspiring.

Citywall, was developped through European Union's IPCity project and is the installation of a screen with multi-touch technology in a public place, acting as a collaborative intermediary for the exchange of images of views of the city. The content available is periodically updated a organized according to its theme, so it can vary between places and events going on at the time.

Designed to allow a smooth navegation through the contents available in the system, the device gathers other sources of public information, such as Flickr or YouTube, allowing the community to contribute through methods, services and concepts already used in the Internet, today. The selection criteria for the material lies, mainly, in the use of taxonomic classification - Tags.

The technology responsible for the control and manipulation of the device was altered in order to allow several people to interact with the display simultaneously; the maximum number of people who can interact is limited only by physical space. According to the intaller, the technology would allow displays that are theoretically 16 meters wide.

This project and installation are truly inspiring, underlining the progress made by Nordics when compared to the rest of the world. A simples, yet innovative, concept with public utility that answers to the needs of daily life.

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