Technology

Intelligent billboards

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billboard-37080_960_720You’re standing in front of a billboard. Suddenly, it changes and the screen displays an advertisement for fruit roll-ups, then one for the new Harry Potter movie, and then one for Monopoly.

It’s almost as if the billboard knows what you like.

In Tokyo, Japan, there is a new kind of billboard, called an “intelligent digital billboard.” It scans your face and clothing, as well as the environment around you, to decide what kind of person you are.

In this case, it has recognized that you’re a young boy or girl with a bit of money to spend on movies and games.

If you were a middle-aged man walking in a rainstorm, you might see an ad for raincoats. If you were a stylish 20-year-old woman, you might see an ad for make-up or dresses.

The billboards were invented by a company called NEC.

A small camera above the screen transforms the image of the person into data, which is then analyzed against the unit’s profiles of about 10,000 real people. Based on your clothing, gender and age, height and whether the person is accompanied by children, it figures out what kind of products you might like.

People can also scan the billboards with their mobile phone to receive restaurant menus or other information from the ads.

The billboards are being tested in Japan now, but will soon be coming to North America.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
We are surrounded by advertisements on a daily basis. Record all of the places where you might see advertisements during a regular day.

Advertisements come in different forms: in magazines, on television, in newspapers, on t-shirts and on subways. What types of advertisements are the most effective? What makes them more effective?

Reading Prompt
The camera above the billboard screen analyses your face, your clothes, who is standing with you, and your surroundings. In your opinion, is this enough information to know who you are and what you like? Why or why not?

Primary
Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Junior
Make judgments and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Grammar Feature: The Comma
Circle or highlight all of the commas in the article. Did you know that commas are used in many different ways? Here’s a list explaining how writers use commas.

1. In lists – “Suddenly, it changes and the screen displays an advertisement for fruit roll-ups, then one for the new Harry Potter movie, and then one for Monopoly.”

2. When extra information needs to be written – “In Tokyo, Japan, there is a new kind of billboard, called an “intelligent digital billboard.”

3. In numbers – “A small camera above the screen transforms the image of the person into data, which is then analyzed against the unit’s profiles of about 10,000 real people.”

4. To separate a city from a country – “In Tokyo, Japan, there is a new kind of billboard, called an ‘intelligent digital billboard.’”

5. To separate two ideas that are in the same sentence – “The billboards are being tested in Japan now, but will soon be coming to North America.”