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Motorized ‘For Rent’ sign stalks pedestrians until they give it some love

In a world filled with advertisements, most consumers do their best to avoid and block out blatant signs, ads, billboards, and commercials – especially if they’re hurrying elsewhere. So it’s no surprise that if you are the one posting an ad yourself, it could be hard to make these signs stand out and grab the attention of the ever-so-busy pedestrian typing away on their smartphones. One designer in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, however, has some tricks up his sleeve. If people aren’t going to pay attention to the world around them, he’ll make the big bold signs stalk them until they notice.

Motorized for rent sign computer“Sherbrooke’s downtown has many abandoned shop fronts. My installation was set up in one of them,” Niklas Roy explained. “And as nobody likes to stroll in roads with empty shop windows, I wanted to do this retail space a favour and help it to find a new tenant who can care about it.”

Instead of a generic, stagnant “For Rent” sign, Roy installed a surveillance camera that tracked a passerby’s walking direction. As the camera is able to calculate the trajectory, the sign moves along a motorized track to follow the pedestrian. Basically, the sign stalks the person until they give it some attention, which is admittedly kind of creepy but also pretty innovative. At least the signs won’t talk and badger you into putting your email down for a listserv (I’m looking at you, clipboard people).

Though there are no reports of whether the trick helped sell any real estate, the project is a novel way to draw attention to widely-used business signs that are often overlooked. It’s too bad for the pedestrians passing by who just wanted to look in the mirror for a reflection of themselves. Admit it, how many times have you glanced at a storefront with a giant window to check yourself out?

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