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Science Hardware

Traffic Light Switcher Makes Critics See Red 600

An anonymous reader writes "According to a Yahoo/Washington Post article: 'It sounds like a suffering commuter's dream come true: a dashboard device that changes red traffic lights to green at the touch of a button. Police, fire and rescue vehicles have had access to such equipment for years, but now the devices are becoming available to ordinary motorists thanks to advances in technology and a little help from the Internet. Safety advocates are outraged, and news accounts in Michigan last week led to politicians there seeking a ban on the gadgets'." Update: 11/06 02:25 GMT by S : A previous Slashdot story mentions the device, though not the Michigan legislature's subsequent ire.
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Traffic Light Switcher Makes Critics See Red

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  • I Wish... (Score:3, Funny)

    by robbyjo ( 315601 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:22PM (#7403215) Homepage

    Gee... I wish I had a similar device for "See it early" Slashdot post... ;P

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:37PM (#7403349)
    Unfortunately, the key was only one bit long.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:37PM (#7403353)
    Good concept, except these things instantly turn the light green for you and red for the other direction. There's no voting system, and what if someone has a juiced up repeater going off... better yet wouldn't it be great to just sit on the side of the road near an intersection and f*ck sh*t up?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:40PM (#7403362)
    "Who would want a device that turns lights at an intersection all red?"

    Try the millions of teens who watch 'Jackass' all day.
  • by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) * <> on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:45PM (#7403403) Journal
    i do something like that in really congested traffic. like, 15 mph on the interstate. i'll go 14. i'll end up with 500 feet clear in front of me, and people in the left lane will splash back into the buffer in front of me. i never hit the breaks once. it takes about 8 seconds to cover the buffer space to catch up, and sure enough the person behind me is always absolutely livid that i decided to let a space build up. and most of the time, they cut the person off to the left of me, cut close to me, flip me off in the mirror, peel out, and dart ahead. oy ve
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:46PM (#7403406)
    Wow, imagine a beowulf cluster of these!!!


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:49PM (#7403436)
    I suppose we'll have to get these installed in every pair of shoes as well so pedestrians don't get run over as they get halfway across the street.
  • by X_Bones ( 93097 ) <> on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:56PM (#7403480) Homepage Journal
    So what if something is wrong, and is in direct conflict with the interests of the public? Why should that get in the way of good, honest people like these folks trying to make a living? I really see no problem with this at all.

    (This post brought to you by the RIAA, the MPAA, Enron, and your friendly neighborhood cable TV monopoly.)
  • by Texas Rose on Lava L ( 712928 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @10:57PM (#7403485) Homepage Journal
    1. Sell transmitters for varying amounts of money, from $300 all the way up to $1 million or more.

    2. Whoever has the most expensive transmitter gets the right of way.
  • by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @11:11PM (#7403568) Homepage
    Dude, when are you in that big a hurry and NOT on the way to a fire already?

    When I'm GETTING AWAY from a fire!
  • ILLEGAL???? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Regul8or ( 603030 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @11:31PM (#7403675)
    They're illegal? Now that I know that I'll be sure to not use mine!
  • by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @11:42PM (#7403734)
    Some time ago, just after the dicovery of X-rays in the late nineteenth century, X-ray goggles were banned by congress after intensive lobbying by public decency activists due to conserns of them being used to see through women's clothing.

    X-ray googles have however never been created, and their usage to see through clothing to see naked skin is utturly rediculous, yet they are still illegal. I don't know if this law is still valid, however I doubt if it has been overturned. This is an example however of a technology that never was legal.

  • by grimarr ( 223895 ) <langford@silicon-mas t e r s . c om> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:38AM (#7404016)
    Around here, the favorite dingus trick is to stop too far into the intersection, so that they are past the sensors. Usually, this means they are past the big white "stop" line. I enjoy thinking of the "instant karma effect": by being so impatient that they go an extra 20 feet before stopping, they delay themselves until someone else comes up behind them to trigger the light. I often stop way back, so that I don't trigger it, just to add to their suffering.

    Unless I'm impatient, then I'll trigger the sensor and get on with things....

  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:39AM (#7404019) Homepage Journal
    Easier solution -- with no technology.

    I can turn red traffic lights green just by staring at them. The time required varies a bit from light to light, but eventually they all bend to my whim and turn from red to green.
  • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @01:13AM (#7404192)
    FCC controls RF, nobody controls light (IR)

    What if you're receding, so your IR looks like RF? There must be an inertial reference frame where this device becomes illegal.

    This reminds me of a physics problem that is in every physics book in the chapter about relativity and doppler shifts. A motorist is speeding towards a traffic light and runs a red. In traffic court he claims that the red light appeared green to him because of the great speed with which he approached it. The judge fines him one dollar per mph he was driving over the speed limit (55 mph). What was the fine?

  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @01:43AM (#7404340)
    These two geeks decided to go to lunch, and one of them volunteered to drive. They motored off, seatbelts on and laptops open. When they came to a busy intersection, geek 1, who was driving, ran the red light and didn't even flinch. Geek2 panicked and screamed, "Why'd you do that??" "Geek 1 told geek 2, "calm brother drives like this and he never has any problems." Geek 2 does his best to accept this, and they continue on.

    Another few blocks, and another intersection and another red light and through they go....geek 2 remains quiet, but he's backing up his laptop to his home server, just in case.

    Next intersection and this time, the light is green....geek 1 stops. Geek 2 does a double take at the green light and asks geek 1 what he's doing "Why are you stopping?", to which geek 1 replies "Are you kidding? I'm not blowing this intersection on the brother might be coming through here!"
  • by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @03:57AM (#7404977)
    When individualism runs amok and society screams for mercy, there's a kind of man who knows how to tell society where to stuff it.

    The guy in the Andre the Giant-sized car. The guy with the traffic light changer.

    And guess what: that's me, pal. Mr. Individualism Man. And I got a lot more individualism where that came from.

    For starters, I want a device that will restart the movie in the theater when I arrive fifteen minutes late. You already saw that part? Screw you, I didn't! And if I like it, we're all gonna watch it again.

    Then I want a telephone that, when there's a busy signal, dumps the other joker off the line and puts my more important call through with a terrifying ***Sqwonk!*** and the message, "Please hold the line - I'm patching the president through now."

    I want my taxes cut, and yours raised! I want my bio-engineered grass to grow roots that sneak across the property line, strangle your grass's roots, and make mine the greenest yard on the block!

    If you're a chick, I want to grope your tits, wash your head in a toilet, dangle you out a third story window, and still be the man you call governor in the morning. I want my shit not only not to stink, but to be in demand from florists on holidays and anniversaries.

    Got a problem with any of that, you socialist? See how you like sitting at all the red lights I'm gonna throw your way.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.