Datenkrake auf Schaufenster

Since nobody would otherwise read it: Identum sticks Facebook's data policy up on their front window.

05/24/2018 - 13:48

As everyone now knows, the new GDPR will be in effect from May 25th. And, of course, like all other companies, we took up the resulting bureaucratic challenges for ourselves and for our customers. In addition, and fueled by the data scandal surrounding Facebook, we decided to incorporate the issue into the design of our shop front. So, from now on, a huge blue data octopus will be watching over Strozzigasse, disseminating the most important excerpts from Facebook’s data policy, clear as day – and above all – in anything but small print.
If you look closely, you will notice that the curious eyes of the data octopuses track pedestrians passing by and take a close look at them when they stop in front of our office. That this works perfectly our programmers reached in deeply into their bag of tricks or rather into the tool box and found a complex technical solution so that the octopuses’ eyes move with the pedestrians.

The technology behind the sea monsters

Two RaspberryPi minicomputers are paired with video cameras that capture the silhouettes of pedestrians in a pre-defined area. Based on this, motion tracking software evaluates the angle at which the person is located. In real time, the correct control commands are relayed to servomotors behind the eyes of the octopuses. Two circular disks with the pupils fixed on them rotate immediately to the point where the detected object is located. If you stand in front of one of the octopuses, you will be directly eyed by the blue monster. If you keep walking, it will watch you for a while.
Of course we do not record any photo-like images or process any data. We only render a 3-dimensional motion and convert it to a black and white image, in which white surfaces represent motion.

"The technical challenge was the tuning of the cameras, the motion control "Arduino" of the servomotors and the single-board computer RaspberryPi. For many similar components, there are already good existing libraries, but I insisted on writting the Arduinos on my own in C. Apart from that, the majority runs on Python," says Klaus, our web developer, who is also a passionate electronics engineer, mechatronics and 3D printing expert. With his "Everything is Possible"-mentality, he ensures the seamless interaction of the software and hardware components, creating the resulting wow effect on our front window.

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