Researchers at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications are working on sidewalk innovations that will transform public thoroughfares into shimmering corridors of light.

The first of these are lenticular lenses embedded in walkways — these lenses offer subtle navigational cues to pedestrians when they're stuck in crowded spaces. Note the researchers:

The images on the sheets laid on the floor beneath them appear to move to the right, as pedestrians move above them when they walk. Since people have a tendency to give priority to their visual sense to maintain their balance when they walk, their eyes will be attracted in that direction.

Additionally, the Electro-Communications team is looking into wall lights that alert pedestrians if someone is turning a corner. Because decades from now, we'll all have one eye in reality, another perpetually stuck in the intertubes:

This instrument mimics the movement of a shadow. The shadow moves in the manner of people who are approaching from the blind side of the corner, so that someone walking from the other way would notice the shadow, even if they are looking at a cell phone or a book, and would realize that someone is coming.

So yes, if all goes according to the University of Electro-Communications' plan, the future will look The Apple. I can live with that.

[Via Diginfo]