White Glove Tracking
Creating a data source together one glove at a time.

There are 10,060 frames of video in Michael Jackson's 5 min 34 sec nationally televised landmark performance of Billy Jean. The White Glove Tracking project (W.G.T.) is an effort to isolate just the white glove from this moment in pop-culture history. Rather then write unnecessarily complex code to find the glove in every frame of the video I am asking for the assistance of 10,060 individual internet users to simply click and drag a box around the glove in one frame. In the end this data will be shared freely for all to download, visualize, and use as an input into other digital systems.

W.G.T., much like Nasa's Clickworks project, is an exercise in crowd sourcing. Interested users can donate small bits of time by analyzing single frames within a much larger video (in this case the first televised performance of the Moonwalk). This enables the production of information that otherwise would be prohibitively labor intensive. Working under the principal that useful data can be gathered by asking internet users to perform "...tasks that require human perception and common sense, but may not require a lot of scientific training."

White Glove Tracking Is an open source initiative which shares both the source code and the resulting data.


Q. How does it work?

A. After clicking here you will be presented with an image; one frame from the performance. If you see a white glove simply click and drag a box around it. Use the corner handles to adjust the box so that it preciesly contains the glove on all four sides. When fished click 'UPLOAD GLOVE DATA' and you will be presented with a different frame and the process starts over. If you don't see a glove then leave the screen blank (clicking 'CLEAR' if needed) and hit 'UPLOAD GLOVE DATA'. (The data collection process is now closed).

Q. Do I get anything for helping out?

A. Sort of. You get the satisfaction of doing a good deed. If you are interested in using the resulting data source then you help get closer to that goal. If so desired you will be credited in the project (see below for details). And the top 10 contributing users will receive a free print of the visualization of the final data set.

Q. Can I be credited for my work?

A. Yes. If you wish to be credited for your contribution simply login in using your email address on this page and click 'LOGIN'. On the following page there will be another box where you can enter in the name of which you wish to be credited. Once logged in you will also receive a running tally of the number of frames you have submitted. (The data collection process is now closed).

Q. Couldn't you have used this for something more interesting then Michael Jackson?

A. Yes. For me the movement of MJ's white glove during the landmark performance of Billy Jean is an interesting set of data. If, however, you find this silly and/or pointless I invite you to use this system towards you own ends. The source code and project folder can be downloaded at the links below. In part, W.G.T. was created as an example of how this system of data collection can be used rather simply by creative technologists for a wide range of data sets ranging from the surface or mars to the king of pop.

To read our initial project report click here: whiteglove_writeup_04.pdf

evan (at) eyebeam.org
ben.engebreth (at) gmail.com

White Glove Tracking is an open source project initiated by Evan Roth and Ben Engebreth with support from the Rhizome Commissions Program and the Eyebeam OpenLab.