Since I was mentioned in the Calgary Herald this week, and because Karen T. is one of our most beloved commenters and a confirmed Canadian, I am going to keep bringing you Canada’s news of the week.
Discover magazine reports that today that city officials in Vancouver unveiled a 2D “virtual speedbump” to get drivers to slow down. But the speedbump takes the form of a little girl:
In what sounds like a terrifying experience, the girl’s elongated form appears to rise from the ground as cars approach, reaching 3D realism at around 100 feet, and then returning to 2D distortion once cars pass that ideal viewing distance. Its designers created the image to give drivers who travel at the street’s recommended 18 miles per hour (30 km per hour) enough time to stop before hitting Pavement Patty–acknowledging the spectacle before they continue to safely roll over her.
The thought that keeps coming up here is: are drivers just going to get used to driving over little girls? Philadelphia drivers, faced with a similar illusion (this time of spikes in the road) reported becoming quickly inured to the effect once they traveled over the area once or twice. After squashing Pavement Patty a few times, you might start seeing all pedestrians as just another virtual anti-speeding campaign. You’ll need to test them for realness with your bumper.
However, I do like the idea of using graphics to warn about horrible things that can happen in your every day life. Maybe a virtual-reality mugger painted on the sidewalk in front of an ATM, or a woman with a baby and an accusatory look on her face in front of the bar where you’re about to get lit while the wife and kid stay home.