Because we’re always intrigued by opportunities to visualize real-time data in engaging ways, Microsoft’s Surface team got our attention when they asked us to create an updated version of Event Live, their event-based social media visualizer. Our fully redesigned and rebranded Social Stream application aggregates live Tweets, images from Flickr, and news stories into a multi-directional animated “stream,” creating a real-time display of relevant social content. Multiple users can simultaneously read, rotate, and explore all of the live data on the selected topics, and can even “scrub” the stream itself backwards and forwards.
One exciting feature showcased in Live Stream is the addition of Microsoft Tags. Users can flip over any item in the stream to reveal a Microsoft Tag. When photographed with a mobile device running a tag recognition application, the tag is translated into a hyperlink that immediately takes the user to that URL in their mobile browser. It’s a quick and easy way to snapshot content that you want to save for later.
As with most of Stimulant’s projects, Social Stream has a complexity far beyond its simple end-user interface. A hidden administrative control panel can be launched by placing any object on Surface with a specific Surface byte tag attached to it. This control panel then gives an administrator the ability to adjust volume, stream speed and direction, diagnose connectivity, and ban specific topics or users from the stream (which then updates in real-time). The administrator can also enable a profanity filter and determine whether the stream populates chronologically or randomly. These advanced options are all available without having to interrupt the experience or leave the application.
Social Stream premiered at Worldwide Partner Conference where visitors to the Microsoft booth were able to watch the live chatter about the conference float by in real-time on Microsoft Surface. Participants enjoyed the new and engaging multi-user experience that highlighted immediately relevant content. Stimulant also enjoyed our first chance to create an application using Microsoft’s bold, typography-oriented Metro design language on Surface.
Best of all, the Social Stream source code is available on github. Re-skinning the interface and customizing the branding elements are simple tasks, and adjusting the feed items merely requires basic editing. Stimulant is proud to have this code become publicly available, and we look forward to the creative ways in which this application will be repurposed.
Creating interaction beyond the computer.
From desktop to device, multi-touch to gestural and portable to permanent, Stimulant crafts magical experiences for computers that don't look like computers.