City of Sparkles

2017 - 2019

byBotao Amber Hu, Yang Liu, Ran Duan


City of Sparkles is an interactive virtual reality experience using real Twitter messages to tell stories of New York City where an artistic virtual New York City is dynamically shaped with sparkles. Each of sparkles represents a real Twitter message from residents of New York City, and its color and motion represents the emotion mood and the geographical location of the message. Audience can freely fly in the virtual city, and discover the messages left in the city, and feel the lonely souls.

The experience contains several chapters. Each chapter has a story line and its own emotion mood. We use Natural Language Processing to programmatically curate the tweets to match the mood of the chapter. For example, the black and white scene represents anger and anxiety, while the blue scene consists of tweets reflecting lonely but positive emotion. Audience can interact with the sparkles and feel the emotion of the messages. In accordance to the emotion, abstract visual effects and motion are happening as well as adaptive contemporary music and sound, so as to strengthen the feeling of the audience.


Botao Hu, Yang Liu, and Ran Duan. “City of Sparkles.” In ACM SIGGRAPH 2019 Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality, 1. SIGGRAPH ’19. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery, 2019.[→]


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@inproceedings{10.1145/3306449.3328815,author = {Hu, Botao and Liu, Yang and Duan, Ran},title = {City of sparkles},year = {2019},isbn = {9781450363204},publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},address = {New York, NY, USA},url = {},doi = {10.1145/3306449.3328815},abstract = {Through using authentic Twitter messages, City of Sparkles portrays storytelling through a virtual reality experience in New York City and San Francisco. The audiences can feel different emotions through exploring through the world of tweets.},booktitle = {ACM SIGGRAPH 2019 Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality},articleno = {9},numpages = {1},location = {Los Angeles, California},series = {SIGGRAPH '19}}


Media: Interactive VR

Technologies: Unity3D

Research Topics: Urban Computing, Data Visualization


Concept Designer: Botao Amber Hu

Interaction Engineer: Yang Liu

Composer: Ran Duan