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A Glowing Idea from the Netherlands

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On: Sat, Apr 19, 2014 at 9:18AM | By: Karen Cook


A Glowing Idea from the Netherlands

Ah, the Dutch! We have them to thank for red light cameras. Good thing they aren’t close by. I don’t think many of us are happy with that invention. Daan Roosegaarde (boy, the Dutch love double letters!) may have an idea to make up for the dreaded cameras.

The project began back in 2012 and when you hear what it is you’ll be amazed nobody thought of it sooner. Mr. Roosegaarde painted a 500-meter stretch of dark road in the city of Oss in the Netherlands with photo luminescent (glow-in-the-dark) paint to make the edges of the pavement and the center line very clear without the use of street lights.

I would call it ingenious if it weren’t so obvious. The paint gives a clearer view of the twists and turns of a road to human drivers and will also be able to be utilized for autonomously driven vehicles. It also saves money by reducing the number of expensive light poles which have to be placed and maintained.

Daan sees other ways to maximize the potential of this product by giving it temperature-sensitive qualities which would be able to alert drivers to icy patches in the road. In addition to seeing the glowing lines drivers would see snowflakes when approaching dangerous stretches of road. All this is possible without the use of electricity.

Of course there are potential problems with the system. Countries that have long dark winters stand the chance of the paint being unable to absorb enough light from the sun during the day to power itself through the night. Also questions arise as to how to make the substance durable enough to withstand the damage done by weather, traffic, and the inevitable cracks in the pavement that keep our road workers employed.

With modern technology at work most of these issues seem relatively easy to overcome, and it may be a only matter of time before we are all driving on glowing roadways.


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