Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Good afternoon, Mr. Yakamoto," she says, loudly and cheerily. "How did you like that three-pack of tank tops you bought last time you were in?"

Soon in Japan, it'll be raining ads

"Researchers are working on 'information rain', taking advertisements to the realm of mock meteorology. A projector on a tall tripod shows images of raindrops hitting the ground and making ripples, in hopes that people will enter the 'rainy' area and hold out their palms. A camera tracks the entrants' movements and sends the data to connected computers. Then the projector shoots out a round-shaped advertisement -- which can post words such as 'SALE' -- right onto their hands."

I've always understood that pervasive computing would first-and-foremost bring advertising to us, or us to advertising. Consider even urban space annotation, and how often it involves use scenarios along the lines of "great food, affordable prices," "my favourite record store" or some other call to better-informed, more meaningful consumption. A step away from the travelling-businessman-super-user for sure, but still about our everyday relationships around buying stuff. Pushed a bit further, we're redefining Veblen's conspicuous consumption and I think the "traces of conspicuous waste [that] usually become evident on a close scrutiny" are becoming increasingly difficult to see.



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