As most of us have visited a cinema recently are aware, it’s bad manners to take along your phone and chat with friends through the film but as the world’s biggest firework displays gear up to welcome 2013, the organisers of the Australia New year show are pleading with the expected attendees to make sure they bring their smartphones for their most ambitious and biggest show yet.
Telstra, the Australian mobile phone network provider has created an app which it hopes over a million partygoers will download and use at the show. The network will send signals through cell tower nodes over the 3g network to the phones with the app installed. The software application is designed to flash colours and patterns of light synchronised to the fireworks.
As I’m sure most of us have seen on “24” or Spook’s style TV programs, it is possible to track exactly where a phone is by looking at the signal being reflected back to the towers via a system known as the home locate relay, and by cross-referencing the signal strength picked up on different cell sites, the computer works out where the phone is to within a metre. The network will then send corresponding patterns and colours to different areas of the crowd.
There will be four times during the festivities when the crowds will be asked to hold up their phones to the night sky to add to the show. If just a fraction of the crowd participates, it should look really cool.
Although an ambitious project by anyone’s standards it is not the first time that synchronised lights have been used to such effect. Last year the band Coldplay, as part of their Mylo Xyloto tour, handed out wristbands to everyone in the crowd and lighting engineers staged a show within the adoring masses by activating the lights in sequence.
As you can see from the video the effect was stunning:
With over a million people expected to take part in Australia’s New Year Celebration, it will be one to remember, and if all goes to plan I for one don’t think this will be the last time we see the technology of this kind being used in this way.