When Mercedes wanted to promote its new fuel cell vehicle, instead of placing it squarely in front of everyone in the world, the company decided to make the car invisible.
In this clever publicity stunt, Mercedes wanted to emphasize that its F-Cell vehicle has no emissions, making it virtually invisible to the environment. The clever dudes did it by placing a mat of LEDs across one side of the vehicle and mounting a video-shooting Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR camera on the other side.
We saw a Halloween costume like this once. Mount an iPad on your belly, surround it with costuming that looks like a hole, place a webcam on your back shooting backward, and then feed that video into the iPad. Voilà! It looks like you have a gory hole going all the way through you:
Mercedes is doing basically the same trick. As you can see in the Mercedes video, even though people could still tell there was a car going by, they seemed impressed by the “invisible” fuel-cell vehicle.
Mercedes says its hydrogen-powered drive system is “ready for series production,” but other reports have its commercialisation set for 2014. However, fuel-cell technology is still notoriously expensive, partly because hydrogen is a difficult fuel to store and transport. The materials needed to create a viable fuel-cell are still hovering in the pricey stratosphere.
Practicality aside, we applaud Mercedes and its efforts to create a vehicle with zero emissions and less impact on the environment, and admire the lengths to which these artists went to bring home that point.
By the way, with all the ultra-cool cars in the Mercedes stable, why did the company pick a minivan for this showy demo? Oh, we get it: more surface area to mount that video screen.
Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.