With augmented reality, raising awareness of public violence

A massive billboard in the Netherlands uses augmented reality to raise awareness of the growing threat of aggression and violence toward public servants.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Here's a smart way to fight public violence: just hold up a mirror.

A big mirror, that is, in the form of a massive billboard that displays the real-time activity of the street below.

But there's a catch. Layer a pre-recorded fight on top of the real video stream, and watch as passerby gawk at their own selves, standing idle as two people start swinging "in front" of them.

The public service project is the brainchild of officials in the Netherlands, where street aggression and violence of public servants is a problem -- as is Dutch citizens' tendency to look the other way when it occurs.

The concept: shame citizens into action by placing them, digitally, in the midst of a violent altercation.

In a video, here's a look at the augmented reality project, installed in Amsterdam and Rotterdam:

The hope: Develop among citizens a sense of shared responsibility, community and aid.

At Switched, Matthew Zuras writes that the money would be better used to hire more police officers. But I'm not so sure that would achieve the same affect of awareness, versus actual crime fighting.

What do you think?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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