Smartphones have all but eliminated person-to-person direction-giving and word-of-mouth recommendations, not to mention the cultivation of a new urban sub-specie: the head-down, screen-absorbed Homo sapien oblivious to its surroundings.
By re-imagining the common street sign, Breakfast, a Brooklyn-based digital agency, has developed a way for people to get their bearings straight without getting lost in their own devices.
Points is a new digital smart guidepost, the so-called “most advanced directional sign on Earth.” Think of it as a mash-up of a weather vane, a compass, a concierge and a smartphone. Three thin arrowed screens equipped with 16,000 LEDs pivot around a post and give users a variety of specific information about “Food,” “Transit” or “Events,” to name a few. After users select such categories from an eye-level interface, the screens swivel to point in the direction of the chosen destination.
Selecting a “food” category might list near-by restaurants that are open, depending on the time of day. Points can also stream data from Twitter, Foursquare, transportation hubs and RSS news feeds. This means that the arrows might point you in the direction of a nearby concert where people are tweeting from, where the nearest train is arriving and what local pub has the best happy hour specials.
So far, only one Points sign exists, but Breakfast’s idea is to rent it out to large festivals, concerts, conferences, sporting events — where ever smart signs make sense. The sign will be available July 1st, so until then, you can tweet about it using the #PointsSign hashtag or watch a livestream video feed from Breakfast headquarters.