As the opening ceremony for the London Olympics gets underway tonight, sentiment on the event can be gauged nightly in a big way: The EDF Energy London Eye Ferris Wheel, the largest in Europe, will turn colors depending on the sentiment analysis of tweets coming out of the U.K. mentioning the Olympics.

 

Sosolimited, an art and technology studio helmed by three MIT grads, has written software to capture these tweets and then uses sentiment analysis algorithms to assess their emotional content. SentiStength, a program that itself hails from the U.K., is reportedly the source of the algorithms. During the day, that will be charted on a large LED next to the London Eye, and each night the data will guide the sequence of a visual lightshow around the Eye.  “That data is played back out across full color architectural lighting fixtures around the Eye and with large ground based search beams,” according to a blog posting from founder Justin Manor. It’s been reported that yellow will be the dominant color to express positive sentiment, while purple will showcase negative sentiment.

Expectations: Early on, at least, probably a lot of yellow, even if traffic is a nightmare, from a lot of outraged Brits who want to have their say over Mitt Romney’s comment about how well-prepared the city is for the Games.

EDF Energy is one of the sponsors of the Olympics, and currently the official sponsor of the London Eye, and Sosolimited co-founder John Rothenberg made the connection for ABC News: “For the Olympics they [the EDF] really wanted to capture the energy of the nation. They approached us about how to turn the sentiment of the nation into a value that we could express on the London Eye.”

Gold, silver and bronze touches will be added for each win by Great Britain, as well.

As for how semantic technology will play a role in the Olympics in other respects, see these stories:

Sports Are the Semantic Focus in Britain at the BBC and in Brazil at Globo

Dynamic Semantic Publishing for Beginners

Semantics, The BBC, and the Summer Olympics