h a l f b a k e r y
"My only concern is that it wouldn't work, which I see as a problem."
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Whilst taking my regular hullaballoon flight to work the other day, I
happened to look out of the window and notice how many large car
parks there are. Every airport, every large shopping centre, every
major sports venue is surrounded by its own lake-like sea* of cars, in
all shades of the rainbow.
glanced back to my laptop's screen, and at that moment had a jolt
of realization which felt like a glass of ice water hitting me in the
In fact, it turned out to be an actual glass of ice water hitting me in
the face, due to turbulence and a poorly-trained cabin staff.
Then I had my idea.
MaxCo is proud to introduce its PixelPark parking control system for
owners of large car parks everywhere.
At the entrance, an overhead camera registers the colour of your
car, and the ticket machine issues you a small piece of paper with
the precise location of your allocated parking spot.
Gradually, over time**, the vast parking lot fills with cars - a blue
one over here, a couple of yellow ones side by side there, a sweeping
arc of whites.... Only when viewed from the vantage point of an
aircraft or a tall building does it become clear that something
strangely familiar is appearing. It can't be....it is.....no, it can't
be.....no, really it is and stop talking to yourself. It's the Mini Lisa -
800 feet tall and composed entirely of cars!
Once each image is complete, it is left for a period specified by the
user. During this time, incoming cars are directed to fill the gaps
left by those departing.
After a set time, the casual hullaballoonist will notice the picture
beginning to degrade, as pixels of the wrong colour start to appear,
seemingly at random. Eventually, the parking lot reaches some
indefined state where only the mind's eye can still see the smiling
face of La Gioconda. Yet, as the day progresses, isn't there a hint
of....no....it can't be....or can it? Surely, that can't be the
*This metaphor is under repair. Please bear with us.
**As opposed to any other sort of gradually.
A not entirely dissimilar idea [hippo, Feb 22 2010]
||Ah - Hippo, you are right.
||[+] It's not entirely redundant -- in xenzag's idea, the cars are owned by a car dealer, and are moved around by a bunch of people paid to do so. Such moving around of vehicles is, imho, a waste of fuel.
||In your idea, the lot is a regular parking lot, car owners are coming and going just as they normally would, with the only change from their normal routine being the precise location, within the lot, they park their cars. Your car art is formed much less quickly than xenzag's, but it also consumes much fewer resources.
||[+] I like this idea better, too; it becomes a sort of vast Public Art Piece. My only concern: given the limited range of colors commonly used on cars, would we be able to imitate delicate artworks? Might be better to just pick whatever common colors there are to fill in pictograms. Kind of like the Nazca Lines, only without the earthmoving equipment.
||As long as the parking lot is big enough, we could probably
get away with just red, green and blue cars in a few
different degrees of brightness.
||The skill of the software (which, incidentally, is only
available for Macs, just for a change, not that I'm bitter)
lies in matching incoming cars to the desired image with
the optimal precision. Too precise, and the picture is
never finished. Too sloppy, and the picture is poor
||However, a simplified and less overunaffordable version of
our software operates on a reduced pallette, and is ideal
for fromspace-visible logos.
||This would be very cool to see as a time lapse film.
||Can we spell naughty words with it? I mention this because many years ago, when a young lad of perhaps ten, I remember writing the word "BUM" in giant letters on a beach. This was epic and designed to be seen from space; it took a few minutes to walk along it. I suppose I will have to wait until secret government archives are de-classified to determine whether any spy satellites were in the right place to take the picture before the tide came in.