I am starting to feel like we live in a world where any and every surface large enough to fit a digital screen is being taken over by some from of electronic media.
In 2009 Gizmodo wrote about San Francisco launching new bus stops that would further the causes of both solar power and blanketed Wi-Fi at the same time. How great an idea! People could log on to Wi-Fi and get work done while waiting for a bus and the automated bus arrival system would be powered by solar energy–cutting down on city power cost! I’ve been around to see some of these new bus stops…and they are slick! What Gizmodo did mention in 2009 was that many of these stops have large media displays where ads and other information are broadcast 24/7. Now, not only am I waiting for a bus…I am also seeing an ad for the hot new show on FOX!
I am sure anyone who has taken a cab in the last year has engaged with digital interactive boxes which allow you to pay your fare, watch the latest shows and follow your progress along the route to your final destination.
Is life starting to imitate art? Or are we just catching up the inevitably reality of our world? By art I mean movies like Total Recall or The Fifth Element where worlds were depicted with large billboards and bright flashing ads.
Recently British design students demoed their digital display system for train cars that would give riders an electronic view of the outside world as they pass. The ‘Canopy’ uses flexible electrophoretic (“e-paper”) display panels that would attach to the roof of a train car. The panels would show an ‘ambient’ animation of passing landmarks and weather information, which would be stored on a computer in the train and updated via Wi-Fi.
Of course the possibilities are endless for this display, as advertisers could pay to make their mark with relevant location-based ads. So much for an interrupted commute.