Rochelle Basen- Hybrid Space

In her article “From Cyber to Hybrid: Mobile Technologies as Interfaces of Hybrid Spaces,” Adriana de Souza e Silva states that hybrid spaces “encourage the redefinition of physical and digital spaces” (p.14). One technology that has forced people to rethink that is Paxar’s interactive RFID mirrors. This technology brings the internet and social media into one of the most traditionally private physical spaces- the fitting room. How it works is as follows: stores will insert an RFID (radio frequency identification) device onto their clothing, and will insert a reader into their fitting room mirror. RFID technology itself is not new. It is the same technology that is used to brand cattle, catalogue library books, and track shipping containers for the past thirty years. Recently though, RFID has been used in more innovative ways, including enabling users to use their credit cards with the wave of their mobile phones. Once the customer tries on an article of clothing and looks into the mirror, the reader will read the information on the chip and relevant information about the product will appear on the mirror itself. Information can include washing instructions, size and colour availability, what other clothes would match it well, even pictures of celebrities wearing that article of clothing. Paxar, the company who created the so-called “Magicmirror” claim that the technology helps deliver a “unique and innovative customer experience.” In terms of hybrid space, the Magicmirror turns overlaps digital space onto both physical (the mirror) and personal (your reflection) space. By trying on that garment of clothing, you unwittingly participate in the branding of the product. Of the three categories of hybrid spaces, the Magicmirror falls into the "social space" category, because the mirror promotes a social activity (shopping, branding, etc.) with a digital, mobile background.

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