Blowing in the (fetid subway) wind

A quick post today: I’m at the airport gate waiting to get on a plane.

I sent out a tweet about this brilliant advertising application of the Pi last week, but so many of you missed it on Twitter and have emailed to tell me about it since then (including one Dr Eben Upton) that I thought it deserved a spot here. Here’s a digital billboard that responds to the wind created by an approaching train.

The advertising agency behind this piece of clever is Åkestam Holst from Sweden, working with production company Stopp for Apotek Hjärtat’s Apolosophy products. Stopp says the ad was scheduled to be run for one day only, but it was so popular that the company which owns the screens asked for it to run for the rest of the week “as a way for them to show the opportunities their screens can offer”. When you think about it, a device like the Pi that can run a full HD digital display and can be hooked up to respond to real-world inputs is ideal for this sort of setup. These guys aren’t the only agency to be using a Raspberry Pi behind digital displays: but this is the best integrated use of the device I’ve seen in this context, and it’s made for a very powerful piece of advertising.


RobV avatar

i wonder if the girl was chosen because she has a very similar look to the Mona Lisa

Jim Manley avatar

Except for the blowing hair … on the one hanging in the Louvre … now that would be funny if they did a substitution like that on, say, April Fools Day! :lol:

exartemarte avatar

I love it. One of those ideas that as soon as you see it you wish you’d thought of it first.

IrishFramboise (AlanMc) avatar

So clever! So fun!

mahjongg avatar

its great!

Homer Hazel avatar

This is totally awesome. I have to figure out how to post that on Facebook!

Thomas S avatar

If you go in to full screen, there’s a share button at the top right (paper aeroplane).

BlueSky avatar

Nice effect but it doesn’t respond to the wind from the train, it just uses an ultrasonic distance sensor to detect when a train has arrived.

Jonathan Humphreys avatar

It still works, doesn’t it? -.-

u8nc avatar

For some reality humour:
follow the link to the agency’s website, and play the time lapse video of its construction. You’ll see the guy has a fight unravelling the red hookup, takes forever to solder 3 wires end-on-end, only to have to do it the right way. ( almost, he’s using an upturned lid which invites a dry joint by being a heatsink )
But then it seems he does it all again for a measly 6 inches, i cant work out why.

Also ferrets through a pack of assorted resistors. Notice he writes the value on the bandolier of the ones chosen, but sets himself up for future time-inefficiencies by not writing on the ones he tests.
He could learn the colour code, but there have been changes to the standard, but hey there’s an app for that..

Haggishunter avatar

Changes to the standard? I hope it hasn’t changed too much in the red orange years since I learned it.

Taha17 avatar


Ben avatar

Really nice and effective

Michael Gardiner avatar

We are developing a digital signage solution allowing others to create dynamic presentations like this. For those interested, we have a BETA Raspberry Pi implementation of our new Display Stacks tech here:

Display Stacks for Raspberry Pi

Multiple Pi’s form a p2p network of screens sharing HD videos, images and advanced display logic. Everything needed to get started (including server) is included and its free to use on networks of up to 4 screens. We welcome feedback.


Camillo avatar

Really clever!
Do You think they used the HDMI from the Raspberry Pi?
Is the video in pause until the train arrives?

Pär avatar

Well the displays is running Windows XP because I have seen them crash… The Raspberry Pi is only used for the Ultrasonic distance meter under the platform who sends a signal to the display when a train arrives and the windows machine will start the flash with the hair blowing.

Scot avatar

Well that’s cool! What CAN’T you do with a Raspberry Pi?

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