Old tech in the new age – Observing China pt3

That rumble… Ahhh.. Such a soothing rumble… My eyelids start to sag, I’m rocking slowly, to and fro, swaying out of consciousness, boingy Chinese vowels floating around in my periphery. As I drift off, I tune in on the 70 year old lady yakking in chinese beside me and my brain attempts to translate her sentences. ‘Bah bah the gravy was a step too far, the silly cow should have waited for Marco to arrive, you never keep a dumpling in a toaster.. But Betty filed 365 sleep cycles inside the closet next to McDonaaa..’ I catch my shoulder drifting fast toward the seat and my limbo babble dissappears. Just the Chinese again – I’m awake. I center myself, glance rightways – James has fallen also to the soothing rumble of the freight car. I dont disturb him.

At least it’s empty in here now. Empty enough to see the floors, the windows, the handrails, polished to perfection, everything coasted with a gleaming white sheen. For the city of smog, they sure do value cleanliness here. Headlights slash through the exterior window. A silver sports car accelerates abreast the train, keeping speed, just enough to catch the BMW logo gracing the contours of th.. What the? No, I’m not dreaming anymore. Awake but only just, and it takes me a minute to realise that the oddity I’m witnessing in this tunnel under the ground, is not a sports car racing a subway train, but another Bladerunner esq product of Chinas hyper advanced technological culture. These are realtime ad animations projected across the length of the tunnel walls. Stunningly wrought and completely jarring.

*Update. A little research revealed that the principle of the technology is itself quite simple, using the fundamentals of a device invented in 1834 named the zoetrope; a drum containing a set of still images, that once spun gave the illusion of motion.

Here in Beijing in 2018, consecutive LED strips detect the motion of a passing train and then light up accordingly. Unfortunately I was too far gone to record the thing but someone else has popped a similar example online.

If you enjoyed this post, consider following our blog! – there’s lots more coming in our 5 month globetrotting adventure.

China-Phillipines-Australia-New Zealand-Thailand

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