Bright colours, music and a constant party atmosphere. Welcome to Rio, home to Brazil’s best known Carnival. And this year technology will be one of the key players in making the party happen.
The latest 3D graphics have been used to design Rio’s famous float-cars. Architect and float designer Renato Silva used 3D modelling to help artists design floats for the parade.
He explained why that was necessary: “We’re able to simulate motion and see if it will hit an obstacle along the way, since these floats do not leave the factory with the same dimensions they will have at the parade.”
‘Bafafa’ is the latest in a long list of smartphone apps that helps revellers find their way around carnival.
Besides the big parade, Rio has witnessed a large increase in the number of street parties known as ‘Blocos’ during the last 10 years.
Journalist Ricardo Rabelo, who runs the app, said it is a great way to navigate around – if you have the stamina: “Right there at the Bloco carnival street party a person can check the app and know what next street party to go to. Younger people go to eight or 10 each day, a true marathon.”
Blocos are considered the heart and soul of the carnival experience – there are literally hundreds, catering to every taste.
At the City of Samba, the Beija Flor Samba group have created another app which allows festival goers to take selfies and share them with the rest of the world, broadcast live on big screens.
Beija Flor Carnival Artist, Bira Silva, said: “Beija Flor created an app that people can get for free on the internet for iOS or Android and they will be able to follow the parade live, seeing the photo of each costume on their cell phone or tablet anywhere in the world.”
Tourism officials expect the Rio carnival to attract nearly one million tourists and generate revenue of $950 million (690 million euros).
Similar Carnival celebrations will take place simultaneously in other cities across Brazil.
Ski track app
From the warm streets of Rio to the top of the snowy mountains in Germany. Two 17-year-old pupils at the prestigious Eton College in Windsor, near London, have come up with a free skiing app which allows users to find the right spot, record their times and compete with friends
Ski fans Kit Logan and Ed Hardy are now enjoying the fruits of their labours on the app, called Edge.
Ed Hardy explained how it works: “There are lots of new sensors on the market, people are really interested in the data that they’re accumulating during these sports. They want to see the speed that they hit when they went over that jump, they want to see the vertical distance, the altitude, all that kind of information that previously they’ve not even been aware of.”
Slope analytics is just one part of Hardy and Logan’s ski app. Building on their resort website, Edge also features a database of around 600 ski resorts with detailed reviews of venues – from restaurants to ski hire.
On the slopes at Zugspitze Mountain in Germany, winter sport fans are excited by the possibilities of tracking their own downhill runs.
Susanne Matena, a snowboarder from the Netherlands said: “It’s extra fun. Snowboarding is already fun but having an app like this you can measure your speed and stuff like that.”
Users can then share that information on social media sites to compete with friends or keep personal records.
German skier Ferenc Bodor also found the app useful: “I think it is cool. Before I was going down a very steep part and I was going quite fast and I was wondering exactly how fast I really was.”
Edge can claim 1,000 unique resort check-ins since launching in December 2013. But Logan and Hardy aren’t content with just bringing social media to the slopes, they plan to create similar apps for other sports such as biking
While Edge can be downloaded for free, its creators plan to eventually profit from the app by selling information on visitor trends back to ski resorts.