Thursday, March 21, 2013

Forgot Your Book? Underground Library to the Rescue!

If you take the subway, then I'm sure it's happened to you: moments before your train arrives, you realize you have nothing to read during your commute. Sure, you've got your smartphone to distract you, but it's a bummer there's no signal underground. What to do, other than stare blankly into space until your stop? Students from the Miami Ad School have the answer to your first-world problem.

For a class project, three students from the Miami Ad School - Max Pilwat, Keri Tan, and Ferdi Rodriguez - came up with the Underground Library. Not to be confused with the Underground New York Public Library, the Underground Library utilizes smartphone technology in a unique approach to reading while in transit. Pilwat, Tan, and Rodriguez decided to use the city of New York and its subway system to demonstrate their Underground Library concept. 

Affixed in an MTA subway car is a poster that says "Swipe for a FREE read." A rider swipes a smartphone across the poster, and data from that poster is transferred to the phone using near-field communication (NFC) technology, which is already in most smartphones. Looking down at the phone, the rider sees that the first 10 pages from one of the books shown in the poster have been downloaded to the phone. Now, the rider has something to read during the rest of the trip.

When the subway rider leaves the train and goes aboveground, the data on the smartphone will direct him or her to the nearest branch of the New York Public Library, where the book that the 10 pages were excerpted from can be checked out. I guess the potential collaboration between the Underground Library and the New York Public Library is what businesspeople call "synergy." Still, I think it's an excellent idea. If it's officially implemented, I think it will be hugely popular.

To read more about the Underground Library, go HERE and HERE.

* Above photos from

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