A 'smart mirror' designed to track the sun's trajectory and reflect its rays evenly helps keep pub beer garden out of the shade, as Stuart McDill reports.
A great British tradition - a pint in the pub garden on a sunny afternoon. But what if your table is in the shade? Sunlight here at the Sun in south London is being bounced into the shade by the so-called Smart Mirror - tracking the sun as it moves SOUNDBITE (English) BRITISH ARTIST AND INVENTOR ANDREW SHOBEN, SAYING: "What we've created is what's called a heliostat. It's a device which inherently knows where the sun is and moves in order to keep the reflection of that sunlight in a particular space. So it involves knowing whereabouts you are on the surface of the earth and working out where the sun is and the inclination of where you want to shine it to." The project is a collaboration with UK brewers Meantime who hope to install the mirrors in beer gardens nationwide. SOUNDBITE (English) MADELEINE BLACKALL, BRAND MANAGER, MEANTIME BREWERY, SAYING: "One of the great things about the British summertime is enjoying a pint with your mates in the sunshine. One of the not-so-great things is having to fight people for the shade within your favourite pub garden and so we're trying to solve that problem or we have solved that problem with the Smart Mirror which will beam the brightest of sunshine into the darkest and shadiest corners of the pub." The programme can be altered to any global location by simply changing the coordinates. SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW SHOBEN, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC ART AT GOLDSMITHS, SAYING: "We couldn't put it in the shaded area because there would be no sun to reflect, so we needed to think about which way the sun travels over the day and then calculate the angle depending on what time of day you want to illuminate the garden. So this is set up really so that when the pub garden is open, which is the afternoon, and the sun is kind of in that area there we'll get a nice bit of sunshine right here." Drinkers here welcomed the installation. SOUNDBITE (English) BEN SOWTON, DRINKER, SAYING: "I think it's a fantastic idea. I make outdoor beanbags and the one thing you want is to have sun all the time, so if this guarantees sun perfect." SOUNDBITE (English) MARK EVANS, DRINKER, SAYING: "I actually drink in another pub on quite a regular basis and what it doesn't have is light in the garden because it's not quite in line with where the sun comes in." This London pub is the only place where you can enjoy the reflected rays at the moment and the brewers say at present they have no plans to market the mirrors.