It’s Raining Ads

Via Anne: Researchers in Japan are working on what they call “information rain,” which would allow projectors to display images of raindrops hitting the ground, hoping that curious consumers will open their hands allowing small advertisements to be displayed on their open palms.

Anne’s right that personal computing–no matter what else it does–will inevitably be a conduit for advertising, as her reference to the interactive ads parodied (portrayed?) in Steve Spielberg’s Minority Report illustrates, so this intensified form of advertising should come as no surprise. Science-fiction novels such as Feed and Jennifer Governement have been describing similar advertising phenomena for some time.

But the “information rain” concept really creeps me out. I think, in my case, it has something to do with personal space and the way in which the researchers anticipate how consumers will incorporate the advertisements into their shopping experiences (or perhaps even more specifically onto themselves):

“It’s quite natural that you hold out your palm when it starts raining,” said Yoko Ishii, a chief researcher in the human interaction project.

“People jot things down on their palms. The palm is the information tool closest to humans,” she said.

Much as the Internet gave way to unique pop-up and interactive advertisements, the new technology can develop in its own fashion to find ways to make the hand ads more attractive, she said.

“Advertisements are usually something that’s given to you, but it would be different if they showed up on your palms. You would feel more familiar with the message that appears in your personal area,” she said.

An advertisement on the body would help convince people that the message is really meant for them, she said.

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