London’s historic statues will start calling smartphones from this week

” id=”attachment_646931″]londons historic statues will start calling smartphones from this week peter pan talking statue
If you told a friend that a statue on the street had started talking to you, there’s a chance they might give you a heartfelt squeeze of the shoulder before uttering “Sure it did” and giving you the number of someone that can help you with that kind of thing.

However, include the information that there was some high-tech jiggery-pokery involved and they may refrain from handing over the number and instead ask you to elaborate.

The above scenario is perfectly possible, especially if you find yourself plodding about the streets of London or Manchester this week.

From Tuesday, 35 statues of famous folk – fictional and not so fictional – will connect with your smartphone and regale you with entertaining tales of their fascinating lives (even if some of them are completely made up).

The 12-month project is the work of arts outfit Sing London and technology group Antenna. UK-based Digital R&D Funds for the Arts is backing the initiative, which is aimed at generating more interest in the arts by using technology to bring public spaces to life.

Related: UK art gallery lets you control robots over the Internet for a night-time tour

The short monologues have been penned and voiced by British writers and actors, with statues including Queen Victoria, Sherlock Holmes, William Shakespeare and Isaac Newton all clearing their throats in readiness for your visit. Oh, a cat (Samuel Johnson’s, apparently) and a goat (probably not Samuel Johnson’s) are also among the listed statues [pdf], though quite how they’re going to communicate with passers-by is anyone’s guess.

There are several ways to get a statue to call you up – those with NFC-enabled handsets can simply swipe their device over the tag at the base of the statue, leaving those without to either scan a QR code or enter a Web address.

“You don’t need to download anything,” Sing London‘s artistic director Colette Hiller told the Guardian, adding, “Your phone will just ring and it will say, ‘Sherlock Holmes is on the phone for you’ and the monologue begins.”

Sing London, a group that describes itself as offering “high profile, participatory events to make cities feel happy,” hit the news a few years back with talking trash cans that applauded, said “thanks,” or simply burped when you threw your trash in.

[Source: Leicester University via Guardian]

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.

What you should know about 'Battlefield V,' and what to expect with Tides of War

Battlefield V is one of the most ambitious games Electronic Arts and DICE have ever released, including full campaign, multiplayer, and battle royale modes, all while not charging players extra for new maps.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.