This programme ran in 2010 at the Pervasive Media Studio. For more projects like these please visit the Studio website.

What is pervasive media?

The simple explanation:

Pervasive Media is basically any experience that uses sensors and/or mobile/wireless networks to bring you content (film, music, images, a game…) that’s sensitive to your situation – which could be where you are, how you feel, or who you are with. Oyster Cards are a simple pervasive device: so are audio guides at tourist attractions, which can give you extra information according to where you are and which bits you’ve been to already.

The more complex explanation:

Pervasive Media is Digital Media delivered into the fabric of real life and based on the situational context at the moment of delivery

The two defining features of Pervasive Media are:

1. Uses technology to understand something about the situation and respond based on that information;
2. Uses digital media to augment (bridge) the physical environment, and vice versa.

Some bits from the toolbox:

This doesn’t attempt to be a definitive list of all of the possibilities, but a start for people who are looking for inspiration.

Things you can sense:

  • Where you are (location), The time (of day/of the year)
  • How you are feeling
  • What you are near
  • What you have done already
  • Who you are with
  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Sound
  • Physical state (direction facing/whether you are moving)
  • The weather

The tools you can use to detect these things:

The sorts of things you might trigger:

  • Playing of a piece of media
  • Loading of a website
  • Send a text message
  • Triggering a phone call
  • Opening or closing of a door
  • Turning on/off of a light/sound
  • Change of volume
  • An Augmented Reality overlay


Click here to read an article about Pervasive Media.