Wee video games. And no, that isn’t a spelling mistake!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

video game urinalsApparently it’s quite hard to aim straight – or so my husband claims whenever I complain about his er lack of direction. But apparently when there’s a video game involved, it’s a lot easier.

The LED screen above the urinal shows a choice of three games – there’s a snowboarding title, a version of Atari’s arcade classic Breakout, and a quiz. There’s even a high score table – although whether for sheer endurance or actual skill is not clear

The idea appeared in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport – painted on the inside of the men’s urinals are little bluebottles.

The airport designers found that simply giving men something to ‘aim’ at meant that there was less mess on the floor for the cleaners to deal with.

Now a British company has gone one step further: and created a urinal equipped with a video screen, so ‘aiming’ left and right steers a snowboarder down a slope.

More expert marksmen can also answer quiz questions.

The system has taken four years to develop – and, thankfully, won’t need Britain’s publicans to take a sledgehammer to their existing porcelain.

The system works by a clip-on LED screen at the top of the urinal, and a motion sensor aimed down into the ‘business’ area of the urinal.

Because it doesn’t use liquid sensors or cameras, the makers hope that disagreeable cleaning tasks will be kept to a minimum.

What effect this will have on the hygiene of the facilities remains to be seen – although makers Captive Media are confident that it will persuade men to aim broadly in the ‘right’ direction.

Above the urinal is a 12-inch LED screen, which displays the game – with a quick advert first, as hard-up pub owners aren’t going to install the things for fun.

The 12-inch LED unit also displays an advert before the game begins – so the idea it is the units will be profitable for publicans

The units will work with 90 per cent of urinals installed in British pubs – and are designed as a hi-tech replacement for the traditional advert located above the urinal

There are three games to play, though, including a version of the classic brick-smashing arcade game Breakout, and a quiz.

The quiz – naturally – is called Clever Dick.

There’s even a high-score table, although one imagines that you’d have to hold in for some time in order to still have ‘ammunition’ so to speak, to enter one’s name in the Hall of Fame.

Naturally, the devices are equipped for life in a hostile environment – they are waterproof, shockproof and have toughened glass.

So far, the devices have been trialled in one pub in Cambridge – but drinkers throughout Britain should get a chance to try their skills soon.

Presumably, if you can aim when you’re motivated to do so by a fun video game, you could aim on any other occasion? I’m just saying. But what do I know?

Written by Rob Waugh, this piece originally appeared in the Daily Mail

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