Smile at Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

“Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.”
W. C. Fields
i-DAT is collaborating with Cheltenham Festivals and the University of Warwick(with a little help from Facebook) on the NESTA Digital R&D funded Qualia Project. Qualia Smile will be running from the 1-6 May 2013.
‘Qualia Smile’ is a playful smile counter that encourages the audience to participate in measuring the collective happiness of the Jazz Festival. Qualia Smile gamifies the collection of qualitative data, generating a benevolent feedback loop – smile and the festival smiles with you. The harvested smiles generate an aggregated visualisation of the mood of the festival – that Jazz feeling.
Qualia Smile incorporates image analysis techniques found in most common cameras and phones. These open software libraries are used to create a playful and participatory measure of happiness at the Jazz Festival. If this were a Blues Festival, would we have to turn the camera upside down?
Qualia Smile works within one meter of the display screen and requires direct participation. The system only records instances of smiles and not individual faces. The smile harvesting takes place in real time and is layered over the live video. Just like a mirror, the screen clearly shows who is looking at it and encourages the viewer to pull appropriate faces (commonly called ‘smiles’). The dynamic data graphics visualise that Jazz feeling.
Qualia Smile is the first manifestation of the Qualia Project. Funded by NESTA, Qualia will be a real-time system to capture and display how audiences feel. Qualia extends contemporary audience evaluation processes by incorporating techniques to harvest, analyse and visualise more emotive/qualitative data. This unique trans-disciplinary collaboration aims to enhance engagement and enable arts organisations to reflexively programme cultural events, thereby enhancing their economic, cultural and social impact.