Blurring the lines between reality and augmented reality.

Japan is home to some of the world’s busiest train stations, and yet, somehow, the continual surge of passengers piling out of the trains and towards the exits is surprisingly smooth.

One of the reasons for the smooth passage is the many signs showing people where to go. However, depending on the setup of the station, it’s not always easy to install brightly lit overhead signs to convey all the necessary information, which is why some stations are now placing signs on the floor instead.

▼ One such station is Fuchuhommachi, located in Tokyo’s Fuchu City

Here at Fuchuhommachi Station, the floor signs really stand out, as they use the powers of trick art to give the messages a 3-D appearance that makes them look as if they’re floating up towards you.

▼ Yes, what you’re seeing is real.

The signs look like something you’d see in an augmented reality mobile game, but this is really how they look to the naked eye. The effect is incredible — the arrow pointing to the Musashino Line, for example, looks as if it’s hovering in mid-air.

▼ It’s hard to resist the urge to jump on the floating arrow like a video game character wanting to zoom off back to the Musashino Line.

While the orange arrow points towards the Musashino Line, the two yellow arrows point towards the Nambu Line, with the one on the left taking you in the direction of Tachikawa, and the right taking you in the opposite direction, to Kawasaki.

The whole point of these signs is to stop commuters from making the mistake of exiting here to change lines. The bright red “Stop!” sign here does that to great effect, while the green sign behind it, which reads “Exit” in English and “This is the exit!” in Japanese, alerts commuters to the reason why they should stop and think twice before heading through the turnstiles.

East Japan Rail, who runs the station, says the new signs made their debut here in February this year, as a “prominent guide” for customers to switch trains smoothly. They’ve already proven to be an efficient, cost-effective way to prevent a common problem from occurring, with less mistakes made just a month after they were put in place.

The strong impact of these signs make them potentially useful for a wide number of scenarios outside of the station as well, like when people need to be alerted to stop on roads and pavements. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these floating signs popping up to help us in everyday life in future, because everyone should be able to enjoy the wonders of trick art — not just the shadow warriors at this ninja station.

Related: Fuchu Honmachi Station
Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]