In a practice dating back to ancient Rome and attributed in origin to Julius Caesar, where the Acta Diurna (“daily events”) of political and social events were posted on the city walls, Helsinki, Finland's capital, has launched The CityWall, a large mutli-touch display installed in a central location which acts as a collaborative and playful interface for the city's everchanging media landscape.
The content displayed on the CityWall is periodically organized into themes or events that are currently taking place in the city such as festivals, carnivals or sports events. The CityWall is designed to support the navigation of media, specifically annotated photos and videos which are continuously gathered in realtime from public sources such as Flickr and YouTube.
To contribute content to the CityWall, you can send pictures and videos via MMS or email to email@example.com. Alternatively, tag your media on YouTube or Flickr with 'Helsinki' and they will pick up your media and display it on the CityWall.
Using a series of intuitive gestures users can navigate and arrange media as if you were manipulating physical pictures. The touchscreen technology which enables this direct interaction has been specifically designed so that several people can interact directly with display at the same time; the maximum number of people who can interact is limited only by physical space. The current CityWall installation measures 2.6 meters wide but the technology would allow displays that are theoretically 16 meters wide.
The CityWall is located in downtown Helsinki, Finland. It can be found in Lasipalatsi opposite Forum.
The touchscreen technology and applications have been developed by the Ubiquitous Interaction group at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology.