Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Slow commute? No problem.
There's never a wasted moment when you have a smartphone, for better or for worse. Even underground users can patronize the "virtual supermarket," billboards that helps you make a shopping list later delivered to your door.
A group of students at the Miami Ad School envision putting that technology to decidedly more pleasurable use. "Underground Library," designed by Max Pilwat, Keri Tan and Ferdi Rodriguez, proposes a series of advertisements for the New York Public Library where a quick swipe could send the first ten pages of a book right to your phone.
After you've finished your sample, upon emerging from the subway, a map points the way to the nearest library location. The system would use near field communication (NFC), a technology capable of wireless data transmission over short distances, so that it works in non-wired tunnels.
It is, sadly, a fictional campaign. But surely the NYPL could spare some of its renovation budget to put a few of these in circulation.