It is sort of augmented reality, but without the glasses: a start-up has developed technology for creating ads the size of a skyscraper, which people who have seen the film Blade Runner may be familiar with, but the ads will only appear in the viewer's eye, they will be optical illusions, using 'persistence of vision' techniques.Persistence of vision refers to the optical illusion whereby multiple discrete images blend into a single image in the human mind and believed to be the explanation for motion perception in cinema and animated films.

Presumably, you don;t need planning permission to create a giant image on the side of a building if it isn't really there.

Ligthvert, a news start-up, reckons it is set to disrupt the Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) market with what it calls a ground-breaking new augmented reality solution called ECHO.

It invites us to "Imagine a cityscape where giant adverts up to 200m high appear – only in the viewer’s eye."

"It sounds like science-fiction," says Lightvert.

Lightvert says that although the DOOH market is growing, it is limited by the amount of available advertising real estate in premium urban locations.

It says that ECHO solves this problem using augmented reality to unlock vast amounts of lucrative advertising real estate on high-rise buildings and other tall structures. A narrow strip of reflective material is fixed to the side of the building and a high-speed light scanner projects light off a reflector and towards the viewer. This creates large-scale images that are ‘captured’ for a brief moment in the viewer’s eye through a ‘persistence of vision’ effect. The images are fleeting, but striking, prompting viewers to stop, engage with the image and share the experience. As seen in this video , images can be captured using a mobile phone and shared on social media.

ECHO has a global patent pending, and Lightvert believes it will open up exciting new advertising opportunities in outdoor spaces that are currently inaccessible to traditional billboards and LED screens.

Funded to date by Innovate UK and a small cohort of seed funders, ECHO has completed the proof of concept and is now ready to develop a commercial solution. Lightvert is completing a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube in order to finalise the development of the technology and bring ECHO to market.

Daniel Siden, CEO of Lightvert Ltd explains: “Traditional billboards and large scale LED screens in built-up environments are expensive and it is increasingly challenging to leverage new real estate in crowded urban spaces such as New York’s Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus. ECHO provides a new way for brands to rise above the noise of street level advertising and engage with audiences on an unprecedented scale.

"Using the persistence of vision effect, ECHO hardware has virtually no physical footprint. It introduces new audience behaviour and is a powerful opportunity for advertisers and property owners, which could dramatically change the game in terms of capital costs and planning permissions for premium outdoor media.”

Simon Dicketts, Executive Creative Director of M&C Saatchi comments: “This is exciting; technology that frees up the mind to new creative possibilities has to be a good thing.”

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