What is Heckle? Heckle is a web based visual augmentation system that overlays a live video stream or still images with keywords, images, video and other information as they arise in conversation. You then have a visual record of the flow of the conversation.

Development of Heckle began in 2007, in collaboration with Wojciech Kosma, to use in conjunction with our existing projects such as Talkaoke, Who Wants to Be…? and Unlecture. It has grown to become an essential tool during our shows, allowing viewers to understand where the topic of conversation has got to and potential new directions of conversation. It also gives an indication of the spread of views and ideas at the event.

Heckle at Who Wants to Be...?, Wunderbar, Newcastle

Heckle at Who Wants to Be…?, Wunderbar, Newcastle


Heckle at 'Unlecture', UCL

Heckle at ‘Unlecture’, UCL

How it works: Heckle can be operated using a single computer, or several different machines. A simple interface allows the user to send text, images, videos, websites and wikipedia pages to an external display. These objects overlay a video feed or slideshow of still images. Chapters can also be inserted to break up the conversation into categories. Each entry posted appear instantly over a live video, or still image, on the external screen. Recently Twitter has been integrated into the system so users are able to add comments from specific #Hashtags.


Voting at 'Who Wants to Be..?', Unicorn Theatre

Voting at ‘Who Wants to Be..?’, Unicorn Theatre

Voting System: Heckle also has a voting system application, which we use mostly for Who Wants to Be…?, allowing for 3 way voting on any subject. It also links to a vote counting program, designed in collaborating with Artem Baguinski, at V2 Centre, Rotterdam, which recognises and counts the different coloured cards via a DSLR camera. The numbers are sent from the vote counting system to Heckle so the exact result can be displayed.



Heckle is still in development and is improving all the time. It is not yet ready for public use but if you are interested in using heckle for an event or project, or helping us develop it then please get in touch hello@thepeoplespeak.org.uk


Example of the final Heckle cloud

Example of the final Heckle cloud.


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