Carnival attendees waded through crowds in search of a match made in social media heaven.
The classic masquerade ball of the 15th century continues to inspire everything from fine art to bachelorette parties. Something about the added layer of mystery at a social event seems more exciting than your usual get-together. The idea of the masquerade ball recently got taken up a notch with a creative project by Brazil-based company Skol Beats. During the Rio Music Carnival earlier this month, the brand handed out around 5,000 masks equipped with Bluetooth technology.
In collaboration with MIT, the brand created the masks to connect strangers at the event. After being synced with the user’s Facebook profile, the mask would light up green or red to indicate whether two passersby were a match.
The information culled from the profiles, therefore, lets users know if they might have a lot—or only a little—in common with other attendees. The masks fit into the overall aesthetic of the Carnival but also created another interactive layer that could potentially bring strangers together. The masks add a technological twist to a classic party tradition.
Last year, Data-Masks by artist Sterling Crispin took a much more eerie approach to creating masks that incorporated Facebook data. The artist used facial recognition algorithms—like the ones utilized on Facebook that suggest photo tags to users—to create a picture of how technology perceives the human face.
With experiments such as these, and the growing popularity of wearable devices, the mask will surely continue to evolve into something far from those seen in masquerade balls of past centuries.