Just Wave Your Hands

When you step into the lobby of a Hilton Hotel later this year, you likely will encounter a novel technology called interactive display advertising. As the name suggests, the actions of a person viewing a video advertisement become an integral part in influencing and controlling what's being shown on the display. The purpose is to engage the viewer who uses only body gestures in interacting with the ad; there is no physical contact with the display. The success metric is dependent on how long the person continues to respond, typically measured in minutes.

In a joint venture with Samsung and Reactrix Systems, an interactive out-of-home media company, video displays will be installed in Hilton Hotels by year's end to showcase the gesture-based technology, according to a recent article in the MIT Technology Review. Along with the display, a camera records 3-D images of the movements of anyone standing as far away as 15 feet in front of the display. By analyzing the images, and coupled with vision algorithms, the display programmatically reacts to viewer gestures to further engage and entertain participants.

As stated in the article, the heart of the image capture is a stereoscopic camera that has two lenses. Additionally, infrared lighting is projected on the people standing in front of the display to help determine viewer distance. Each lens captures a slightly different image that is fed to a special processor. The processed camera images provide full-depth data for all objects within the field of view, enabling distances to be determined very accurately. In fact, the system can discern when people are holding hands or standing close together.

In the interactive environment, the user interface has to garner a lot of attention. It really hasn't been decided which interface works best for the majority of people. Interacting with a virtual boxer on a display is one thing, but how do you simulate the activation of a button if there is no button to press?

As for the Hilton lobby displays, people will be able to interact much as they would in operating a simple computer. There will be menus that will allow them to access various entities such as games, restaurants, theaters, and information on other local attractions. The intent is to make the whole experience fun for everyone while promoting specific advertising messages.

Another digital media offered by Reactrix is called STEPscape™, an advertising product that currently is embedded in the floors of malls and theaters across the country. Participants simply step on the product to interact with the advertiser's message. What's significant is that Reactrix can measure and quantify when people become involved with STEPscape. The company will provide its clients with data on how many people viewed the advertisement, how many engaged with the ad, how many got on the interactive display, and how long they did so.

In the future, don't be too surprised if you see some strange behavior by fellow passengers at the airport while waiting for your next flight. Not to worry; they're most likely enjoying and playing with the latest advertisement on the gesture-based interactive display.

Paul Milo
Editorial Director
[email protected]

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