Why I 😢 Watching the ISS Live Interview

Full Interview

I became interested in 🔴Live when Meerkat (a video live streaming app) had their explosive entrance onto the world stage.

I set up a live squirrel cam on Meerkat. It included a motion sensor that tweeted every time squirrel motion was detected. The squirrel’s lure was a hanging ball of peanut butter.

It was pretty cool, and squirrels came! I could watch them live once they arrived. I started spamming my friends’ emails with the “SQUIRREL IS LIVE” motion sensor event… however, the sensor started picking up shadows that moved every time the wind picked up.




Notifications kept coming.

I was politely reminded by my friends that they were trying to work and to stop sending them emails.

My second interest in Live occurred when I learned of China’s live streaming craze. People were live streaming and receiving cold hard cash in the form of a digital teddy bear sticker that they called “digital gifts.” The trend intrigued me, although, aside from the few performers, comedians, and personalities, the majority of users were just creepy dudes throwing money at girls.

The Economist’s Take on China’s Live Streaming

Video with Chinese Live Streamers

What I love about Live is it’s potential to be a two-way street for content consumption; viewers now have the ability to interact with the content creators AS THE CONTENT IS BEING CREATED.

I started thinking of other ways to interact with Live.

I added it to augmented reality….

And I connected it to hardware…

First with Russell Williams, a brilliant mechanical engineer who makes awesome robots and architects’ automated systems.

He created a “tug of war” light board and I added some chat functionality. While watching the light board on YouTube Live, you could control the lights when sending a command in the live chat.

Going further with this idea, how cool would it be if you were watching a live interview or late night show and you could do something to warrant a reaction from Jimmy Fallon?

What if there was a water balloon above his head during the show and if 1 million people hit a button from the comfort of their own homes, that water balloon would pop on Fallon?…

I hired freelancer, Mitchell B, and he developed a balloon popper. He did an outstanding job and you should definitely hire him if you’re looking to add some hardware to your projects.

After first building my own simple chat bot, I found a more robust chatbot called Nightbot and connected it to my own custom Rails 5 API.

Now when watching the balloon Live on YouTube, you can type “!pop” in the chat and move the needle towards the balloon. I’ve limited the command to only two “!pop” commands per viewer, so if you want to pop this balloon, you will need to recruit your friends.

Next Steps

My next steps will most likely implement mass input art to some degree. I’m very inspired by Pixel Place.

“Each pixel you see was placed by hand. Each icon, each flag, each meme created painstakingly by millions of people who had nothing in common except an Internet connection. Somehow, someway, what happened in Reddit over those 72 hours was the birth of Art.” - sudoscript

Although I really like the digital aspect of this, there are definitely some hardware aspects that could be translated here.

If you’re still wondering - I teared up because I’m passionate about 🔴Live, general technological advancement, and how our interactions morph and compliment these advancements. I couldn’t believe my eyes that these amazingly clear astronauts at this very moment were playing ping pong with water…in space…and I was witnessing it. I felt as if I was apart of it! That’s the power of 🔴Live.

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