Thursday, June 21, 2012

Normal: Smart Sidewalks?

Madrid has installed "iPavement" -- pavement that has communications technology embedded in it that provides information to people who are walking on the pavement. Imagine having that in Normal! We could walk around Uptown and use our phones to get coupons to nearby businesses, find out the weather forecast for the area, find out specials on the menus at local restaurants, find out the hours for special events, find out if the train is on time -- get information for just about anything in the area. And we wouldn't have to communicate with other people! (Isn't that the goal of a lot of our technology?)

Instead of (or in addition to) communicating with friends, you would walk around town communicating with the sidewalk. It would do away with paper notices of events, which would be good for the environment. And it would provide up-to-date information, which is something paper copies can never do. But it would provide even more distractions for pedestrians and less face-to-face interaction. I'm not sure that's a good thing.

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