Congratulations to Seattle for winning the Federal DOT Grant for Remote Infrared Audio Signage! This means that various real-world places around Seattle are going to be annotated with identifiers which can be directionally detected.
This should be interesting to Virtual Earth people, Wikimapia, and anyone interested in tacking metadata to real-world locations.
Talking signs address some scenarios which RFID, GPS, and other techniques cannot. Being based on infrared; they work indoors and are directional (e.g. if the mens and womens bathrooms are next to one another; GPS isn’t necessarily going to tell you which is which).
Additionally, the directional (line of sight) aspect means that talking signs are useful for accessibility for people with vision impairment. This is the underlying motivation for the project; the federal government is funding this because it’s the law — all cities will eventually be required to implement this technology.