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Every public school, courthouse, and office building I've ever entered
has a fire alarm system which does 2 things badly. First is the
migraine-inducing piercing alarm sound. It does NOT need to be THAT
loud when it's being repeated from speakers in every room of the
building. People who can
will hear a quieter alarm, and the deaf
won't hear it anyway. Second is the strobe lights on every alarm and
frequently spaced evenly every 25 ft or so along the walls. Why do
they need to flash so rapidly? A slower, steady flash rate of once or
twice per second would be just as noticeable, yet not siezure-inducing.
My idea to improve the alarm system is therefore twofold. First, the
audible tone is replaced by a pulsing deep bass rumble. Everybody will
feel it, even if they can't hear it, so blind and deaf folks will be alerted.
Second, the strobes are replaced by LED clusters, very bright but not
blinding, and they flash at a slower but, again, quite attention-
grabbing rate so nobody has a seizure.
||At my school the audible fire alarm was a network of electro-mechanical bells; the same as were used for a brief ring at the start and end of every lesson. It was their extended ringing that provided the alarm. I don't recall any visible signal. No-one ever burned to death.
||I posted an idea some years ago to optimize a flash rate for epileptigenicity, so that it could be displayed on a website for people curious whether or not they were epileptic. But I have never been certain there was one optimal rate. Is slower less epilepticgenic?
||According to Sir Wiki's Pedia, "Epileptic seizures result from abnormal,
excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain". Given
that video games with scenes featuring rapidly flashing lights usually
have epilepsy warnings, I would say rapidity is probably a factor.
|| Pocmloc, not all seizures leave the sufferer writhing on the floor. A
coworker of mine at a call center used to get severe headaches from
the flashing lights caused by his epilepsy and he had to shield his
eyes and look at the floor during evacuation drills to prevent a more
severe, crippling seizure from occurring.