In May 2019, new digital advertising screens were showcased at several stations on the subway network - and they're pretty trippy.
They are officially known as "digital color charts" and span the entire length of the escalator. They replace the individual poster panels that most escalators still have. Unlike the billboards, which are positioned at an angle to the escalators, the digital belts run parallel to the handrail of the escalator so that they are at a strange angle to the passenger (an angle of about 30 °, according to official figures).
It took us until July to experience them in all their glory at the London Bridge Station ... and we are not amused. The angle of the advert causes us to lean back slightly to correct ourselves - not ideally on a high, moving escalator - and the look-up of the escalator creates a dizzying sense of impending fate, with space upwards seems to be getting closer.
We had the remarkable sense of a kind of vection * - a sense of motion created by visual stimulation - and had to close our eyes for the rest of the ascent, which is against ALL of our London intuitions.
For investigation purposes, we drove four more times with the same ascending escalator (apologize to the person who was watching a suspect in the London Bridge surveillance camera that day ...). While the effect diminished slightly as we got used to it, we still found ourselves slightly dizzy on the ascent.
We went a little further and found that the product specifications for the new digital ribbon screens are right [PDF] Mention Vection as a potential side effect. Although the creative guidelines encourage potential advertisers to avoid vection-inducing designs, we believe that due to the angle and length of the screens, it is not possible to avoid ventricular and similar effects.
Tell us, does anyone else have problems with the escalators on the London Bridge, or is it just us? We would look for fellow sufferers ... but we must lock them up to get to the top.
Pedant's Note: Vection usually refers to the sensation of movement when you are stationary yourself. In this case, we were not stationary, but the illusion of movement contradicted our actual movements. It was really funny, okay?
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