Yes, you read that right: relieving oneself is now a game, thanks to a British company called Captive Media, which is turning public urinals into interactive, “hands free” (get it?) digital out-of-home video games.
Designed for installation in public bathrooms serving pubs and other nightlife spots, the Captive Media games pair a 12-inch LCD video screen directly above the urinal with infrared detectors which sense where the stream of urine is directed. The game screen automatically activates whenever an individual approaches the urinal; to play, the visitor just directs his urine stream on to a sticker in the urinal which says “start.” Other stickers, reading “left” and “right,” allow the player to direct the game play; games include “shooting” targets, a digital skiing game, and quizzes.
But that’s not all: players who are proud of their high urinal game scores can share their scores with others on Facebook and Twitter via mobile devices; scores are also stored online so champion urinal games players can compete with each other at a national level. According to Captive Media, 90% of public urinals in the U.K. can be retrofitted with their digital gaming system, and no cameras of any kind are involved, so British men need not fear for their modesty.
Once you get people using their urine to play games, advertising is a natural next step. To begin with, pubs can use the game displays to advertise drinks, special promotions, and upcoming events. And it’s a unique way to reach young males for any major brand that doesn’t mind a slightly risque advertising adjacency.
Meanwhile, lest women despair of being able to play games in the bathroom, Captive Media is also hoping to introduce (non urine-based) versions of the digital displays near hand-dryers in women’s bathrooms, to help pass the time while waiting in line.