Monday, February 4, 2013

Just To Know: Interactive Highway, Family Trips Just Got Better!

Roads that light themselves, paint that warns you about icy conditions


This is a paint that becomes visible to drivers based on certain "contexts," explains Sendijarevic. When it gets icy out, white icons of snowflakes can show up on the road to warn people about the hazard, or another icon might give a heads up about an accident down the way. It's already been in use for 30 years--bathmats that change color when they're too hot for babies is one of Sendijarevic's examples--but it was "the implementation that was lacking."


What if we could save power on highway lights by using them less, but also using them better? That's a big part of the project. Glow-in-the-dark portions of the highway could charge during the day, then light up at night, saving energy. The team also wants to turn off lights when cars aren't around, Sendijarevic says, or even use lights that "follow the car, chaperoning them home safely." Some of the power this would require could be snagged by cars producing wind as they zoom by, ideally putting a buzzing, traffic-fueled ecosystem in homeostasis.


One of the most out-there (and also most interesting) ideas of the project is creating what's, more or less, a gigantic car charger. (Literally. Something that charges your car.) A certain lane, called the "‘Induction Priority Lane," would use magnetic fields under the lane to charge an electric car, "the same as charging your electric toothbrush," Sendijarevic says.
Prototypes of the dynamic paint and glow-in-the-dark road concepts are slated for implementation next year in Oss, North-Brabant, Holland.