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Insecurity Lights

Lights that turn off as you approach.
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Many homes have Security Lights which switch themselves on automatically if they detect heat, or sometimes movement, within a particular range, after dark. These are intended to scare off intruders and provide a welcome light source to returning homeowners. In practice however, they tend to be oversensitive and mostly scare off cats and other small nocturnal animals, or overreach their range onto public property.

You'll probably be aware of this from walking home in the dark, only to have your weary features thrown into sharp relief, your night vision destroyed, and your heartrate trebled, as a botched DIY project on a nearby house decides you're too suspicious and must have blinding light cast upon you like a prison escapee in a movie.

There's nothing quite like that moment when you're caught in its glare, like a rabbit in headlights, to make you feel paranoid and insecure. It's watching you. Everyone can see you. You can't see them. All those people standing safely in the dark. They have their eye on you. _They know._

Insecurity lights work the other way around. Around dusk they turn on -- fading softly in over the course of a couple of minutes so as not to startle the unfortunate soul walking past at 5:33pm -- but when someone approaches, they turn themselves off, allowing you to carry your darkness with you, and bask in your anonymity.

Ideal for paranoiacs, agoraphobics and others who would rather be curled up in a darkened closet somewhere with a pile of blankets instead of spotlighted for the world to see, they could be fitted to streetlamps as well as private homes, navigation still possible by the dim light spilling over from the neighbouring lamps; some kind of lamp-to-lamp wireless comms, or just ambient light level detection, might be necessary, so that an entire street doesn't get blacked out if several people are walking down it spaced apart. In this situation, the darkness would be spread amongst the lampposts, each dimming slightly.

Cheradenine, Feb 12 2003

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       i like the double meaning suggested by the title. lack of protection vs. somebody that doesn't want to be seen in public. good work!
RMNixon, Feb 12 2003
  

       [Cheradenine] welcome, your writing style seems familiar, have I seen you here before?   

       Nice idea, especially when you wake up, bleary-eyed in the middle of the night and want only a dim light to see by.
FloridaManatee, Feb 12 2003
  

       But, then again, people (yes, even thieves) already know about lights that turn on when they sense movement. If exactly the opposite happened at some houses, the thief wouldn't know what to think.   

       Until he checked the bakery-over-2.
galukalock, Feb 12 2003
  

       I really like the idea for lights mentioned elsewhere here: the ones that change strength as you go by and start whispering about you.   

       *Barely* audible light to its neighbor: "Yeah, there he is, the one I was telling you about."   

       Other light "Right, what do you think we should do? Get him now?"   

       First light: "No, no, hang on a bit; let's see what he's up to."   

       That should scare off the robbers, while simultaneously keeping perambulating paranoiacs on their guard.
snarfyguy, Feb 13 2003
  

       Needed for the Film Noir House.
sufc, Feb 13 2003
  

       I wasn't nearly so disturbed by the houselights suddenly going dark when my key turned in the doorlock as I was by the alarm in my beloved's voice from the bedroom as she hissed, "Oh my God! He wasn't supposed to be back until tomorrow!" [n.b.: The quote is a caption from a Lichtenstein painting. Not from Jurist's personal life.]
jurist, Feb 13 2003
  

       I can turn my security lighting off by remote control from outside my house. Then if I want to sneak (something) in unobserved, I can.
8th of 7, Feb 13 2003
  

       Thanks for your comments :) FloridaManatee: I've been visiting on-and-off for a long time, posting annotations occasionally, but I think this is my first posted idea. bobofthefuture: well-directed & tuned security lights are indeed useful but alas far too rare. properly configured, there's no reason the two couldn't coexist... UnaBubba: not quite sure I catch your drift?
Cheradenine, Feb 13 2003
  

       Archiving diving! Whee! Great idea.   

       I also like the thought of lighting that dims according to how insecure you're feeling -- so that if you slink into a bar or shop with, oh, a big spot on your nose or a mustard-stain down your shirt or something, the lights around you dim to keep you in comfortable lack of definition...
oldmotherchaos, May 18 2005
  

       I was expecting a solution to getting caught walking naked in the dark.
Not that i do that or anything.
andrew1, Sep 27 2005
  

       Problem is the one who benefits is not the one buying the light. What you really want is a handy sensor telling you where the infrared motion sensors are pointing so you can walk round.   

       Or alternatively put some clothes on next time you're out.
Bad Jim, Jun 16 2008
  

       There's a minor super-villain power in the making: walk down the street and lights turn off as he walks past.   

       //Or alternatively put some clothes on next time you're out//
on behalf of the occasional neighbour walking the dog at 4 am spotting me as I remember it's garbage day today in shorts and houseslippers... bun.
FlyingToaster, Jun 16 2008
  

       // remember it's garbage day today //   

       Blast !   

       <scuttles outside in carpet slippers and aluminium foil hat>
8th of 7, Jun 16 2008
  
      
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