Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Projection Avatar Lands at La Guadia


At La Guardia, a Smiling Helper Materializes, Digitally

" Marie is an avatar, a life-size image of a woman digitally broadcast from a projector onto an inch-thick glass screen coated with a special film, said Luis Vega, 39, the vice president of Parabit Systems, the company that built Marie. The device uses motion sensors to prompt Marie’s 90-second script whenever anyone comes within 30 feet of her. Marie stopped many travelers in their tracks on Wednesday morning, and some walked a circle around her to see how she worked. Others took photos. “I thought it was really a person at first glance,” said Alex Reiss, 21...."

Of course, the image is flat, and it is restricted to whatever shape the glass cut-out is (so the person filmed for the content must remain still) but it does look quite a bit like the holographic images from the "Star Wars" movies. Being able to see behind the image gives the illusion of 3D. One was on display at Digital Signage Expo and attracted a lot of attention.

Airports were early users of public electronic information displays, even before the flat panel era. It is not surprising that they would adopt this unique but somewhat expensive but striking technology. Projection type displays are increasingly "off the radar" in many markets. However, that may be due to not having quite the right product as projection can still provide great value and unique form factors.

The placing of this particular technology at the airports around New York give some indication of just how large the digital signage market can be. In-spite of the substantial price, the avatar does not replace a person as having a person there full time would be unaffordable. This bit of digital signage provides a new service at an affordable cost even at tens of thousands. Simpler signage can be envisioned at virtually every sort of commercial outlet even down to the smallest mom & pop.

Norm

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