Just in case you weren’t feeling media-saturated enough already: there’s word of an emerging technology that could decorate your photos with ads only a camera can see.
A paper shared at the recent Intel Developers Conference under the seemingly innocuous title of “Working Group for Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)” envisions a system where otherwise ordinary lights or informational signs could be encoded to blink out messages. The information would be delivered too fast for the naked eye to decode, but at just the right speed for a camera shutter to capture.
So theoretically, that nice portrait you just took with the model precisely positioned to take advantage of environmental lighting could come off your memory card with “Lose 10 Lbs. Fast!” emblazoned in the background.
Developers describe the technology as similar to the QR codes now embedded in everything from billboards to magazine ads, but with 10 times the visual range. And without that pesky “voluntary” part.
Casio already has a primitive version of the technology working via its PicapiCamera app, which uses blinking tri-color lights to transmit data to cameraphones one 8-bit string at a time. UK startup pureVLC is working to commercialize LiFi, a similar system that embeds messages in environmental lighting.
Issues yet to be worked out include limited bandwidth, variability in camera shutter and image sampling technologies and (wild guess here) possible privacy concerns.