Friday 12 April 2013

Touchscreen Kiosks to Take Over New York Subways

In the middle of March, New York City’s famous subway system has been invaded. Admittedly, there are no aliens involved, but the technology does look decidedly futuristic – interactive, touch screen kiosks have landed.
They look like they could have been in Minority Report or Blade Runner, and have well and truly modernised the old system of dirty, rusty, static maps. Designed from the ground up, specifically for the subway system, these touch screens have brought the future to an aging traffic service.
A Vision of Futurism
The touch screen kiosks measure 47 inches on the diagonal, and are set to touch down in the busiest stations first, such as the world famous Grand Central Station, and Jackson Heights in Queens. Sure, they’re essentially just glorified subway maps, but we predict that they’re on course to change the way you travel forever.
Designed by the Big Apple’s very own Control Group, they will be installed at no cost to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, who are currently struggling with their revenue, and the bill will instead be footed by their designers. Don’t worry that Control Group are about to bankrupt themselves, however – they have done this in exchange for full creative control, which will include any profits that the machines might bring in.
They are currently on a pilot scheme, scheduled to run for about thirty months, after which it will be decided whether to expand upon the rollout or not. Of course, this means that the current kiosks are not working to their full capacity, but even in their present state, they’re nothing short of an information revolution.
Not Your Average Kiosk
Sure, current touch screen kiosks are nice, but this is a whole new ball game. Most screens use capacitive tech – these don’t. Oh no, these use a completely new kind of kiosk touch screen technology, one which uses what is known as “dispersive signal” receptors.
The touch layer, instead of being electrically conductive, has sensors in each corner, which measure the vibrations from your touching the screen and use them to calculate where exactly you prodded. This means that you’ll need to change how you press – instead of using your fingertip, it’s best to give it a bit of a flick with your nail.
If you’re a bit of a germophobe, here’s some good news – you don’t even have to touch the screens with your hand! Just use a pen or a coin; it’s fine! They’re said to be nigh on indestructible, so there’s no need to worry. And there’s no panic if they get dirty; they can just be hosed down!
So What Do They Do?
Well, for a start, they’re a vast improvement at telling users about any service disruptions – they can be updated in real time, giving you the very latest information at the touch of a button. And with their in-built notification system, you don’t have to go searching for info about delays; it’s already there.
And best of all, try going to Grand Central Station and tapping, say, Union Square. The map will give you the quickest route, and even tell you how long it should take. When you get there, the map can tell you interesting things to do in the area! The future is coming.

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