Exploring API

Tasked with a brief to use available API’s I looked at enhancing Plymouth City Centre’s Armada Way.

The aim of the project was to collate and store data from visitors and residents of Plymouth by encouraging them to post “selfies” onto the electronic billboard in Armada Way in return for entering data about themselves such as where they were from.

Billboard image

“Take Plymouth Home”

Armada Way in the centre of Plymouth is a public place that has been beautifully landscaped to accommodate markets, an ice-rink and other activities throughout the year.  The rest of the time it is a viewing area for an advertising hoarding.

The impressive electronic billboard is used to host advert promoting products and services.  It could do so much more!

This proposal is to allow visitors and residents on Plymouth to enjoy this space all year round with a unique and fun way that will make this area a memorable place to visit.

The billboard itself can be used by visitors in the following ways:

The billboard hosts a website that visitors can post their own photographs “selfies” to by using a sealed digital notebook with a camera attached.  This will “push” the images onto the screen using a web socket such as www.pusher.com


The image can be displayed full size on the board; inset into a picture of Plymouth.  By using this app the image can be superimposed on funny images, or scenes of Plymouth.  This creates a real-time interaction with the billboard.

Something to take home. Something to post.

The street lamps can be set up to project icons onto the pavement that link to services that are displayed on the large screen when movement is detected in the area of the icon.  There are 10 lampposts each with two lamps so this could facilitate 20 options.


So if somebody puts a foot on the icon for “weather” then the weather is displayed on the bill board screen. weather-icon

The 20 options can include a news and sports feed, Plymouth’s Facebook page, Twitter, any website.  It can go further and activate sound, speech, projected images, lights, street maps, bus routes, live train times.  This form of activation can be linked to anything that will promote Plymouth. You could even have the “joke-tree” that tells a joke every time it is activated.


The benches can accommodate soundscapes that can be activated by pressure so that people using these seats can experience music or a story about Plymouth or restful sounds. They can be heated or lit or decorated.  They will be interactive so that the trigger is pressure.  This could also activate the billboard or charge your phone.


The trees in the square can have sensors fitted to allow a link with augmented reality displaying more information about the trees, Plymouth or about Plymouth’s people. These too can be activated by a motion sensor.

Experimenting with interactive processes will give back the screen and this area to visitors to Plymouth.  They will be able to post their experiences to the Plymouth Facebook page, tweet about it or take their own photographs.

Data can be collected from anybody using the service.  In return for “beaming” the photo selfie to the billboard a short questionnaire can be filled in by touch. Eg do you live in Plymouth? Y/N ; Where are you from?

There is scope to use voice activation in gathering comments about Plymouth.  A lamppost could be set up to ask a series of questions that can be answered.  Voice recognition software will record responses and send to Plymouth city Council. It could host a feedback about Plymouth service.

Voice activation can also be used to trigger a story about Plymouth, or music, of sounds, or lights.  Tree lights can be turned on with a voice command “Turn on the lights please”.

The addition of free Wi-Fi in Armada Way will be a draw to visitors and Plymothians alike.icon_freewifi

“Take Home Plymouth”

By setting up Armada Way as a digitally interactive area then other areas of Plymouth could also be enhanced even to the point of creating areas that respond to mood.   If you are feeling lethargic then visit the “negative ions” area. Sensors will detect the concentration of ions in the air.  The Hoe would be a good area to trial this. Urban areas typically have much lower concentrations of Negative Ions in the air than rural areas.


Billboard image

Take Home PlymouthMA Galbraith




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