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Bristol to become a digital interactive city

Lamp posts will talk to people
Tue Jan 22 2013, 09:40

THE UK CITY of Bristol will be turned into an interactive digital playground where people can talk with lamp posts, bus stops and post boxes.

The city will enjoy this treat because of a local competition that asked artistic, technological people to put forward an idea that embraces both of these interests.

The competition was borne out of Bristol University and local arts centre Watershed, and sees a £30,000 grant heading in the direction of "Hello Lamp Post!".

"The judges' job was incredibly difficult given the standard of entries," said David Alder, director of marketing and communications at the University of Bristol.

"Hello Lamp Post! is hugely exciting and the University is pleased to support this fantastic initiative which supports Bristol's rightful place on the global cultural map."

London based experience design studio Pan beat 90 competitors to take the prize, and soon anyone that texts to opt-in to the experience will be able to listen to a range of "street furniture" tell them a story or discuss the weather with them.

Examples given include a soul wrenching exchange with a postbox that exclaims, "What do I look like?" and "Where is this place?"

Still, it should be interesting and according to one of the judges it is a nice play on the idea of the "internet of things".

"Hello Lamp Post! stood out with a potential for both art and play using existing urban furniture. It points to a future made up of the physical objects already around us, the 'internet of things', and the underlying complexity is made simple and easy for people by just using SMS for this project," said judge Tom Uglow, a creative director at Google.

"Poetry and technology combine to create subtle and playful reflections of the world we live in. It filled me with a childish delight."

The Playable City is set to go live this summer. µ


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