Monday, 13 May 2013

University's Mobile Radicals create new approach to the jukebox

A digital jukebox which uses social networking to select music has been developed by researchers at Lancaster University.

CheckinDJ allows people to choose what music should be played based on the combined preferences of the group and is linked their social media accounts.

Dr Paul Coulton of ImaginationLancaster said: “You could put this in a coffee shop, tap in your loyalty card and it would read your musical preferences by accessing your Facebook, twitter or other social media account. This could be the end of people having to put up with music chosen by the management because it crowdsources the musical tastes of everyone in a particular location at a particular time, whether it’s a coffee shop or a pub.”

The system accesses people’s musical tastes through an NFC tag, a technology which is already in some smartphones and which can connect to users’ social media accounts, reading people’s preferences.

Users select three music genres and CheckinDJ creates a playlist based on these, using tracks from spotify. But there has to be a majority of people in favour of a particular genre for the playlist to change so group participation and social interaction are key.

Dr Coulton said: “It gets people talking because it only crowd sources the musical genre, not an particular track, so you don’t know exactly what music will be on next. It depends on how many people like a particular genre so the music chosen will reflect the majority musical taste of wherever you happen to be.”



CheckinDJ updates everyone’s musical preferences every 20 seconds and there is a time restriction to limit the numbers of individual check ins a user can perform to stop them gaming the system.

The project springs from work by the Mobile Radicals, a group of mobile experiences designers, researchers and developers based within InfoLab21 and Imagination at Lancaster University. They spend a lot of their time subverting perfectly good technology and applying triviality to create novel games, playful experiences, and toys. They are among the pioneers of an ‘in the wild' evaluation methodology that utilises 'app stores' and social networks as experimental platforms. This site highlights many of their past and present projects.

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