Brumpic – Twitter photos on Touch Table

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Photos always work fantastically well on large touch tables.  They are natural for even a novice to handle, can be moved, expanded and generally just passed around.  With the right content conversations between users comes automatically.

However there are two problems with this – curating the content in the first-place and secondly ensuring the content remains fresh.  I’ve thought for a long time that you could solve both these problems if you connected to an existing ‘stream’ of photos – something like ColorizedHistory on Reddit or HistoryInPics on twitter.  That was why I was delighted to meet @BeThirtySix who runs Birmingham’s very own BrumPic twitter account:

Tweeting pictures past and present of Birmingham and surrounding areas.

Every day BrumPic posts new content from Birmingham’s varied history for its followers on twitter.  It already creates interesting discussion via social media – so surely it will work just as well in the flesh.  Actually, I already know that photos of buildings generate fantastic discussion.  An early touch table project developed for The Worcester Hive has a folder of black and white photos from Worcester’s Highstreet.  They instantly conjure up memories of the visitors and are a fantastic catalyst for conversation.

The prototype version – scans the Brumpic twitter account for posts with photos from the last few days.  It downloads the hi-res version and tries to make sense of the 160 characters posted with it to create an image title.  These photos (with titles) are then displayed on the touch table, scattered around the edge of the table and a few random ones chosen for the centre.


This project is an excellent way to share the same photo content with a different audience.  Coupled with the fact it’s much easier to see this images at much larger sizes, as opposed to mobile phones and tablets.

This version is updated daily with content from Brumpic – but future versions could take content live from the feed.  This could be extended so that anyone could live tweet the table with new ‘user-generated’ content.

It may be that this application is successful just as a twitter photo viewer, but it would be useful to explore how this functionality could be extended.  Initial thoughts are that we could allow visitors to select their top images, create their own collages, tag the photos or add their own photos and comments.

We’ll be trialing this prototype version at the Library of Birmingham on their Discovery Floor on Friday 30th May between 2pm and 4pm.  If you’re in the area – pop by and have a play.

Category: My Projects

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