Heathrow Express Mashes Up Projection, Sensors To Urge Travellers To Take Express Train In From Heathrow

September 3, 2021 by Dave Haynes

I thought Microsoft killed off the Kinect sensor program years ago, but it evidently exists in a much more sophisticated, commercial-grade form aimed at interactive and mixed reality applications.

This version is called Azure Kinect and it is being used, as one example, for an interesting “activation” at London’s Heathrow Airport. If you have ever taken the high-ish speed Heathrow Express train into Paddington Station from the airport, you know that once you clear customs or baggage or whatever, you walk, walk and walk some more to get to the trains area.

A UK AV and creative company called Arcstream has a program for the high speed line, coming out of T2, that mashes up short-throw projectors mounted on a concourse ceiling that uses the Kinect sensor to analyze walking speed and flash a personalized message that suggest at that pace it would take four hours, or whatever, to walk into central London, but would take 15 minutes on the train.

I don’t think there are many – or more likely any – people who would actually look at that and think, “Oh … so maybe I won’t walk into London …” but this messaging does reinforce the train is the fastest way to get in.

Wall projections in hallways that are affected by projection have been around at least 15 years, but it’s interesting to see a version that layers in real-time information. Most of what’s been done is camera sensors triggering the artwork to shift, like autumn leaves kicking up as someone walks by.


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