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New £30,000 ‘smart cities’ project will allow people in Bristol to text its “street furniture”

A new art project, entitled Hello! Lamp Post, is currently being developed in Bristol city centre, allowing residents to text bollards, lamp posts, benches and bus stops.

The project, from London-based design studio PAN, secured a £30,000 grant after winning the Playable City Award with the idea of "communicating through lamp posts, bus stops and other street furniture.”

For the initiative, each post box, bollard, bench and storm drain in the city has been given a unique code to text, some of which city councils and public servants already use to tell one object from another for when a light bulb needs changing or a bus stop is in need of repair.

People can then write a text to a special phone number saying "Hello + the name of the object and its code" .The object will then immediately text you back a question in order to play a game or tell a story.

Among the judging panel for the award was Tom Uglow, the creative director of Creative Lab at Google. He said of the idea: "Hello Lamp Post! stood out with a potential for both art and play using existing urban furniture. It points to a future made up of the physical objects already around us, the ‘internet of things’ and the underlying complexity is made simple and easy for people by just using SMS for this project.

“It filled me with a childish delight.”

Locals will be able to start texting their nearest bollard in June this year.

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