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Auxiliary Heliograph Traffic Lights

Oh no, not another traffic light idea.
  (+12, -2)(+12, -2)
(+12, -2)
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I was driving out of Oxford the other day. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was gloriously cloudless. I was almost certainly singing along to the radio.

On my way out along the A40 I came whizzing up to the last set of traffic lights before the motorway and realised 100 yards out that I couldn't see the light. I slowed. 50 yards -- still nothing. Eventually, going through crawling through a 50 mph zone at a little over 20 I can discern a dull glimmer of green as I pass the stop line. Whew.

That's when the Auxilary Heliograph Traffic Light (AHTL) occurred to me. As well as using conventional traffic light type technology (LEDs, light bulbs etc), the AHTL would have a sun-following mirror on top which would reflect light into the housing of the traffic light. This light would in turn be reflected out of the appropriate colour filter to indicate the state of the traffic light.

On dim days and at night the traffic light would be illuminated normally but on bright summer days the traffic light would still be visible, illuminated by the Sun.

[later: shamelessly nicks hippo's title suggestion. Name change 'Solar Assisted Traffic Lights' -> 'Auxilary Heliograph Traffic Lights'. There. Much better.]

st3f, Jul 02 2002

(?) Solar powered LED flashers. http://www.co.hennepin.mn.us/wsolar.html
Not quite what you were talking about, but currently baking in the oven. [polartomato, Jul 02 2002]

[link]






       It's kinda, sorta, maybe baked in terms of solar-powered panels for LED's. More in the development stage. See link for starters.   

       I've not heard of a reflection method... that sounds interesting.
polartomato, Jul 02 2002
  

       Sort of "Auxilary Heliograph Traffic Lights". I like it!
hippo, Jul 02 2002
  

       what if the lights sang back at you.   

       "when I'm calling yoooou...."   

       " I will answer - red light ...tooooo"
po, Jul 02 2002
  

       This is one of those ideas that's so obvious, it should have been done years ago. Croissant!
sadie, Jul 02 2002
  

       "He said the sun came out last night... he said it sang to him." - (CE3K)   

       3f, many traffic lights in my area have this black 'surround' on them, which is about twice the width and height of the light itself. It effectively blocks out the sun glare and allows the light to be visible.
waugsqueke, Jul 02 2002
  

       wouldn't it just be better to have a column of three big drawings of faces - a green smiley for go, an orange quizzical for amber, and a red angry for stop - and have a pair of enormous pointing fingers (like the foam ones at sports games) at the sides which move up and down to the required face? Obviously these could only be used at large intersections where the traffic indicators are suspended above the carriageway, not at pedestrian crossings where people could climb the light pole and take away the big pointy hands (I imagine they would become a sought-after objet d'art.)
sappho, Jul 02 2002
  

       I like that one.
angel, Jul 02 2002
  

       Angel: You could combine Sappho's idea with the "Automatic blow-out staircase" and have huge inflatable yellow barriers that shoot out in front of motorists. Safe if you run into them; hard to ignore; very very visible. Discourages that tendency that some drivers have to slowly creep into the junction area.   

       You could have these for pedestrian crosswalks as well.....
8th of 7, Jul 02 2002
  

       If we were to render sappho's idea boring, we would have old-fashioned railway signals, with a metal or wood pointer which rises or falls to indicate stop and go.
pottedstu, Jul 02 2002
  

       did you miss the part about the faces and the big pointy hands?
sappho, Jul 02 2002
  

       As long as I wasn't completely blinded by it, this would be nifty.
RayfordSteele, Jul 06 2002
  
      
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