AR for the naked eye transforms outdoor advertising

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Advertising has embraced technology, with a range of campaigns finding new ways to engage with the public. Billboards have been popular for years because of their versatility and size. Additionally, with added interactivity, they connect with consumers in increasingly interesting ways. Public health organizations use billboards for a variety of projects, including stopping smoking. A popular Swedish pharmacy’s stop smoking billboard features a large image of a man and an integrated smoke detector. When smoke is detected, the man in the billboard image comes to life, emitting a sharp, hacking cough. In the UK, a scented bus shelter ad for a new vegan cookbook targeted another sense. Featuring the sweet smell of chocolate fudge cake, the advert encouraged commuters to give vegan cooking a try.

There is always high demand for urban advertising space. London-based media technology startup Lightvert created a new method for using unexpected and unusual locations. Lightvert’s ECHO technology projects images into the air. Moreover, the images are particular to that location and cannot be seen even a few feet away from the optimal viewing position. The technology is called persistence of vision, and Lightvert has patented its work. A high-power, proprietary projection system sends a thin stream of light towards a reflector. The projector could be placed in a van, at the base of a building or any number of other locations. The reflector imprints the augmented reality image onto a viewer’s eye as pixels of data. The image does not exist anywhere else. Lightvert is currently seeking launch partners. The technology has already been featured in the Berlin Light Festival and also in a campaign for Marriott hotels.

Takeaway: For advertisers, the element of surprise is a memorable method of engaging potential customers, as is the ability to create images of almost any size imaginable. How else could technology help organizations explore human sensory capabilities in new ways?

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