Watershed

pervasive media studio

BikeTAG

A prototype system that gives cyclists a voice in their city.

Bike Tag is a system of led lights, proximity sensors and a Smartphone application. Originally created during The Playable City Sprint by artists Jayoung Bang, Yunjun Lee, Tine Bech and Julian Sykes, it’s “an urban platform that gives cyclists a voice in their city.”

How it works: Participants kit out their bikes and choose one of three colours for their lights, yellow, red or blue. As they cycle around the city, their route (tracked via GPS) is recorded live to an online map in their chosen colour. When they come close to another Bike Tag rider, the lights on both bikes temporarily turn green to signify an encounter. Encounters are also mapped and over time, areas of the city where people meet and popular routes emerge. The system also allows for street games to be imagined and implemented. Riders score points for encounters and colour battles can spread through the city.

The group built the system on three values that respond directly to contemporary urban challenges: it had to have social meaning; it had to be physical and visible in the city; and it had to be a system that allowed people to participate and create. Bike Tag is therefore a powerful tool and a meaningful experience. It enables new kinds of social interaction, promotes safer cycling and through mapping routes and meeting places, could influence future town planning.

Bike Tag is not constrained to a single city or continent. With further development, it could be seen making positive change in cities throughout the World.

In November 2012, a research report into the potential of a BikeTAG experience for Bristol Temple Quarter was commissioned by Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre and MAYK, with funding from Bristol City Council and Arts Council England.

A short explanation of the project:

This is part of a longer film about The Playable City Sprint: watch the full version

An animated map illustrating Bike routes, created by Takayuki Ito from YCAM InterLab, Japan:

Presentation of the project at Watershed:

Kitting out a bike
Kitting out a bike

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