Living with Technology: Seeing the light(s) at a Taylor Swift concert
Updated 7:18 pm, Wednesday, August 5, 2015
I recently attended a Taylor Swift concert in Boston with my wife. I think I was one of five other men in Gillette stadium.
It was a lot of fun.
But boy, have concerts changed.
When we entered the stadium, there were people handing out milky white translucent bracelets. They clearly were there to light up, which I thought would be fun.
But Ms. Swift had other ideas in mind.
Before the concert, we were advised to remove the plastic pull tab to activate the battery inside.
Fairly quickly, we discovered that the wristbands not only illuminated, but the colors and timing of the illumination were controlled by the show producers.
At various times throughout the concert, the lights would glow with different colors, sometimes in beat with the music or flash to punctuate part of a song.
As I watched out over the stadium of 60,000-plus people, it was clear that we were part of the show and that the performance was not limited to just the stage.
As I watched the bracelets in the audience, it was clear that somehow, the bracelets could be generally controlled by something. For example, the bracelets on the playing field where the Patriots would normally play, would sometimes illuminate one color while the rest of the stadium would illuminate another color.
It was clear that the technology allows for geographic addressing and control of the wristbands, as well as presumably some random activity.
And even my bracelet would blink different colors than the bracelet of my wife, sitting right next to me.
Looking at the back of the wristband, I found the name Pixmob. In going to the website www.pixmob.com I found a Canadian company that does some very interesting projects, generally with lights at big events.
Looking at the wristband, it’s pretty to easy to see that there are three LEDs inside that can illuminate with three colors (red, green and blue) that can blend to make the colors of the visible light. There’s also a small circuit board and battery.
After the concert, we left the stadium with the bracelets and they now are activated whenever we shake or bump them. They’re quite fun for the kids at night.
It’s clear that concerts have changed since I was young. The performance has become an event that extends far beyond the stage. I enjoyed seeing this technology in action on a large scale.
Taylor Swift was pretty good, too.
Mark Mathias, a Westport resident, is a 35-plus year information technology executive. His columns can be read at http://blog.mathias.org online. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.