You and the Universe

The Party at the Center of the Universe is an attempt at using data generated by the public to generate a spatial construct on the internet. This spatial construct takes into consideration the user’s position in space, orientation in space and identity. Each of these factors will affect the way a person is represented in the constructed space. A user’s position is determined by reading the strength of their wireless network connection. A user’s orientation is determined by reading the values of the accelerometer (Sudden Motion Sensor) built in to their laptop. A user’s identity is determined by reading the username of the user currently logged on to the laptop. The readings are made by a downloadable Dashboard widget and does not depend on the user’s concious interaction. It runs in the background, transmitting the necessary information to the party at 5 second intervals. It does not interfere with normal use of the computer and the user is free to shutdown the widget at any time if they wish (but it’s more fun to know that even though you’re in the middle of an important board meeting or giving a presentation to people who hold your destiny in the palms of their wallets… er…hands, you’re also the life of The Party at the Center of the Universe).

Hubbles law describes how every point in space sees itself as the center of the Universe. Due to an effect similar to the Doppler effect experienced when an ambulance speeds past, the Universe appears to be expanding away from every point in space, in all directions. So a space that has the potential to be a single locative indicator of every point in space, must be the embodiment of the Center of the Universe… and we’re throwing a party! BYOB, good company and music is provided.

Due to the hardware requirements, the currently available client program will only run on recent models of Apple PowerBooks and iBooks. There are some laptops from other manufacturers with built in accelerometers, such as some of the IBM Thinkpads, but as I don’t have one, I can’t create the client. Anyone who does have one, is free to download the source material and make one. However, anyone can observe the infinitely expanding, curved spacetime of the Center of the Universe.

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