If you are tired of waiting in a line that winds around half the block for your coffee, never fear! There is a new device, Density, that can tell you how busy a place is, thereby letting you skip the lines and the crowds and making sure you never have to wait for anything ever again. Or, more realistically, letting you spend less time waiting and wading through masses of people. Either way, it's a plus.
The principle behind Density is simple: a business or other venue attaches the device to their door frames, and it uses infrared to measure how many people come in or out. It's not even an invasion of privacy because the device is just counting anonymous bodies and isn't set up to take video or otherwise track individuals. But it can keep track of how many people are in a building. And according to their estimates, its totals are 90 percent accurate.
The system costs $25 a month for businesses, but might prove well worth it — in trials, they claim, locations that posted their real-time traffic saw a massive overall increase in the number of people coming through. People like to know, I guess, that they won't be fighting crowds...thereby enabling them to show up and create a crowd.
The company is already working with Blue Bottle Coffee, and hopes to have pilot programs up and running in New York City, Portland, and Austin by the end of the summer. And overall, the system sounds really cool. Come to think of it, these other types of venues could definitely benefit from Density, too:
1. Clubs and Bars
Is the place you're thinking of heading tonight dead? Is it overcrowded? You can either take your chances and show up hoping for the best, or you can check the Density data and find out for sure. What a world that would be.
2. Public Pool
Are you going to have lots of space to splash around, or will you not be able to make a move without smacking into someone? Imagine if you could know before you left the house.
We all know what a Starbucks line looks like — but what if you knew whether or not there was one before you headed over to the coffee shop?
4. The Gym
Will you be able to get a spot on the ellipticals? Or will you show up and find there isn't room to swing a kettlebell? Someday soon you might be able to know for sure.
Can you get a table? Or is there an hour wait? Wouldn't it be nice to know while making plans instead of showing up and being unpleasantly surprised.
Honestly, I'm not overly invested in whether or not Starbucks or the pool or any of my local bars decide to put this system in — but I think that every DMV in the country should be required by law to have them, and to post the information online right on their website for all to see. Because there is no hell like the Department of Motor Vehicles. None. Someone start a petition to get these things in the DMV!
Images:Niall Kennedy/Flickr; Getty (5); Wikipedia Commons