Air traffic controllers may well be on strike in Dublin today but in the future such delays may be a little easier to handle as passengers might be able to wander over to their nearest HP Wall of Touch to check out the news, view offers from generally over-priced airport vendors (‘really, just €9 for a tuna sandwich… count me in!’) and, of course, keep up to date on flight info and even social media updates.
HP are about to launch their first Wall of Touch – a pretty huge grid of screens driven by its Z800 workstation – in Houston Airport and, should it make a decent impression, models costing anywhere between $2,000 and $100,000 will be available in the next few years. Air travel is just one of the markets HP has its eye on though with HD video conferencing a very tangible target as well.
Dvice.com reports that HP’s Wall of Touch can sense your intent even when your hands come close to touching it, as “cameras and a magnetic strip detect where your hands are, activating the items on the screen accordingly”. Transmitting chips in credit cards or mobile phones that may be able to tell the screen just what it is you’re looking for too which raises the whole privacy debate that tends to muddy the waters for any product such as this.
Comparisons with the shopping experiences shown in Minority Report are inevitable and the paranoid popular cultural references don’t stop there with some people still uncomfortable with the idea of the cameras inside the Wall looking at you, 1984 style. The product itself though looks like good fun and if it searches out good prices for 12 year-old whiskey at airports around the globe, that’s us sold.