Change Traffic Lights Like a Fire Engine

November 25, 2009 at 12:17 am 1 comment

Most cities employ a system by 3M called Opticom. There are sensors on the light standards; when a strobe light flashes at the right frequency in range of the sensor, the lights change color almost instantly.

Before I go into the details, I should mention that it is illegal in most places for unauthorized users to change traffic lights, but knowing about it is very interesting. There are even systems that have a warning light attached to them so you know an emergency vehicle is approaching the intersection.

Fire trucks and police cars have a light mounted on their roof, but volunteer service members usually have a hand-held device. If you look in the right place, you can buy one and possibly even get fined or arrested for trying to beat your best drive time.

There are even reports that a universal TV remote is powerful enough and capable of generating the right frequency to change the lights (see the video).

Photo by: Elventear (used under CC attribution)

Entry filed under: Hacks. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Pete  |  July 28, 2011 at 3:05 am

    It’s a joke & it doesn’t work. The creator of this gag ( gagfilms) must be laughing at all the fools who sat at a redlight pushing different buttons on their TV remote while those behind them were honking trying to get the fool in front of them to move as the light changed on it own.


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