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Cartoon Walls Could Entertain Riders
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Subway officials are looking into setting up a series of strip lights to create animation on walls along Metro lines in Shanghai, which can be used for advertising or simply to make long journeys a little less boring.

While a feasibility study is still being conducted on the plan, subway officials have already said they expect to set up a trial program using a section of tunnel along Metro Line 2 by the year's end.

"We want to design a 'cartoon wall' to create a pleasant mood during the otherwise monotonous journey," said Ying Minghong, chairman of Shanghai Shentong Holdings Company - a major investor in the city's Metro system.

The system will work like a flip book, where static images are printed on the top corner of pages and create what looks to be a moving image when the pages are flipped quickly. Static images would be created with lights along the subway tunnel. As the train moves quickly past the related images, it will create the illusion of moving animation.

As subway trains in the city run at an average speed of 35 kilometers an hour, a 15-second animation using the technology would require around 300 still pictures formed by some 30,000 strip lights.

The system could also be used to play public service announcements or commercial advertisements, officials said.

Subway managers expect the animation to be warmly welcomed on long subway lines, including two under-construction lines that will stretch for more than 100 kilometers. Those two lines - Metro Line 11 and Line 9 - will take up to two hours to travel from one end to the other.

Shanghai expects its subway network to cover 400 kilometers by 2010.

Subway officials are also considering plans to install wireless Internet signals in the subway trains to help passengers kill time.

(Shanghai Daily March 21, 2007)

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