Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving 'Street Lights' A Whole New Meaning

Liat Clark of Wired brings us today's topic. Let us assume for a moment that people actually funded roads properly in this country. And let's further assume that we didn't have things other than roads to also properly fund. Wouldn't it be cool if we could make those suckers light up like Tron?

That's going to be the case in the Netherlands next year along... well, just a few hundred meters of road at first, but they'll work on that. What's going to happen is, in the province of North Brabant in the south of the country, they're going to lay down some glow-in-the-dark, temperature-sensitive paint. During the day, when road conditions are easier to make out, the paint builds up a charge. At night, when road temperatures drop low enough, you'll see images of snowflakes appear on the road, signaling potentially slippery conditions.

This technology already exists on your can of Coors Light. They're just going to put it on the roads now.

If the technology works out, the designer, Daan Roosegaarde, is hoping to take the idea to America's west coast next, along with other concepts in the pipeline for North Brabant, including street lights that flip on and off as cars come into proximity (which would save a lot in energy and emissions costs) and wind-powered lights. India's come forward and inquired about getting the paint for themselves. (Yes, it snows in India. It's not all hot and humid.)

Of course, if it gets really cold and the road has a bunch of real, actual snowflakes on it completely covering the street, the glowing paint may not be visible. But then, you'd have a bunch of snow on the road. If that doesn't tip you off to slippery conditions, nothing will.

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