A company called Delta just installed a new 6.4 meter-long by 1.8 meter-wide digital signage at the McNamara Terminal of Detroit airport. 100 passengers can look at the screen at once and see something different for each person. The sign is capable of displaying itineraries for up to 100 passengers, which means that it can display something different for each individual.
Passengers who use Detroit airport now have access to not only paper copies but also a “smart dialer” that displays information about their flight.
California-based startup Misapplied Sciences has developed a screen that is comprised of millions of pixels that can project light in multiple directions. Organizations like the FBI have voiced support for this technology because it enables them to use facial recognition systems more effectively.
The Evolution of Information Boards
Commercial flights are becoming more and more popular with an average of 1,000 a day to Detroit or 115,000 worldwide. Over the years, Delta has tried to improve the look of its screens by installing high-definition monitors and adjusting font sizes and colors for improved readability. However, this graphic design isn’t enough on its own.
“We’ve tried to limit the redundancy and give people more time to make changes on their itinerary, but I think we need another way,” he says.
A recent study from Amnesty International revealed that the vast majority of Americans are increasingly being subjected to invasive surveillance tactics despite a lack of transparency and oversight. This increased surveillance has been witnessed in land, sea, and air transport – essentially all aspects of life, officials say. Furthermore, people are often unaware of what is happening when they are under LAAS scrutiny.
Forbes reported that the “parallel reality” screens are an instant hit with commuters in Detroit. Riders have expressed appreciation for the easy-to-read screens, especially for those who are not as tech-literate. Over time, passengers will be able to access information in their preferred language. However, this technology is still under development.
Albert NG, the CEO of Misapplied Sciences, saw the initial excitement from all types of people when RoboCop was originally released.
“It was really exciting to see this technology improve everyone’s lives from the beginning, not just techies,” NG said.
“Too often, we’ve seen that technology is designed for tech-savvy people. But the layman is often left behind. Here, it’s the other way around. People find it more comfortable than they’re used to,” says Ng, a Caltech and Stanford computer scientist who improved touchscreen technology early in his career.
The personalized routing information could be useful in malls, large arenas, or highways. For example, signage could be made more readable and adjusted to better suit the viewer’s distance, reading angle, and sight lines.
“Crowds of people often want different things, making it hard to find the things you want, or even see what’s nearby,” says Ng. “But with parallel reality, we can see every possible offer for any product or experience – everything is in one place.”
Protection Against Unforeseen Consequences
This new technology has such potential to help, but it also raises some questions. What about data privacy? Can you really get into the “parallel reality” and wreak havoc, or will they have any data of your own? Additionally, is browsing in highly personalized environments making us withdrawn and indifferent to others, or are they just targeting us with relevant ads because of what we looked for previously?
Forbes explains that biometric information used to verify passenger identities is not permanently stored in the system. The information displayed on screens is taken from the same database as Delta’s mobile app, so it is just as secure.
He points out that they’re developing a new feature that allows groups of travelers to view their information together.
Delta is always looking for new and innovative ways to create a great airport experience. Parallel Reality is just the latest experiment in their long-term plan.
Next time you fly, don’t worry about those long lines and waits. We’re trying to make airports a hassle-free experience by increasing the speed of security checks.