If you are one of those people who gets around via an underground metro system, you'll be familiar with the blank stare that comes from a distinct lack of view. Soon, dark underground train cars could provide a virtual display of the world passing by above with something like this concept.
The "Canopy" concept, from British design student Matt Batchelor in collaboration with Amitra Kulkami and Emma Laurin, uses flexible electrophoretic "e-paper".
The paper attaches to the roof of the train cars and would display an animation of the sky, weather and landmarks passing above. The ambient view could also contain information on events and promotions relevant to stops along the line.
The system operates via content stored on a PC in the train car, which would be updated by WiFi where it is available on the train route. The content then supplies the data feeds powering the overhead animation.
Of course advertising could be included, and as the Canopy website notes, advertisers could pay for "unobtrusive, relevant advertisements". QR codes in the advertisement bubbles could be use to track the response rate.
The animated Canopy could bring some much needed light and interest to a boring commute. If the advertising is included in a fun and playful way what's the harm? If they are unobtrusive and the user chooses to click on the QR code that's their option — and it's a less overt ad technique than the donut smell sprayed on commuters on Korean buses.
In the meantime, the rest of us can enjoy a more interesting view to work!