While several advances have been made in traffic light technology over the years, nothing has really been done to improve the visual warning motorist get from the systems. As it sits right now, most countries use the standard three-light system for their traffic signals. Red means stop, yellow means prepare to stop / caution, and green means go, but the lights are usually six-inches in diameter and do little to catch the attention of motorist who are not focused on the road.
A concept drawing from artist, Hanyoung lee, is showing us a new way to think about how traffic lights of the future may look. Gone are the small, barely noticeable, three-light setups which have been replaced by a very modern, highly visible hologram system that is based on plasma laser beam technology. Hanyoung Lee's system uses an array of lasers to project a ten-foot tall virtual wall across the street with beams forming silhouettes of crossing pedestrians.
Hanyoung Lee says this his inspiration for this concept is based on the increasing pedestrian deaths that occur at pedestrian crosswalks every year in his home country of Korea. He says that traditional traffic lights are overshadowed by large electronic advertising signs, and the focus is lost at these intersections because the lights are less visible. His design would be impossible to miss due to its size, and wall-like appearance.
I imagine that many of our readers tuned into the Samsung Unpacked 2013 event last night. If you didn't, you might have been following our coverage of the event. But, if you were just following our coverage, you missed out on quite the show. You missed out on the ridiculousness that was Unpacked 2013. Check it out for yourself:
We all know the basic story line that press conferences follow. Some big player will come up on stage and tell you about their new product. Some try to deviate from this basic story line by bringing up celebrities to endorse their products. Last night, Samsung deviated far from this basic story line to some success.
While I found the whole show quite contrived, it did have several funny moments thrown in. The humor didn't come naturally, but it still managed to get the occasional laugh. If you've ever been to Disneyland's Innoventions Dream Home, you'll probably understand what I mean by that.
I understand that Samsung wanted to keep people's attention. They had to try and make the show entertaining, especially since they allowed basically anyone to attend. They managed to play to both audiences by having the master of ceremonies say something simple: "The new phone looks and feels awesome." A person they called an "elaborator" expanded upon what he said: "That's because its slimmer, yet stronger."
The scenes that rose from the floor were somewhat entertaining. They did this as opposed to pre-recorded videos.
The one thing that is probably going to keep me from buying another Android phone for my next phone is the lack of upgrades to Android over the life of my contract. If you live in the United States, and you likely do since you're reading this on a US publication, you know that two-year contracts are the norm for cell phones. Pre-paid and pay-as-you-go products are catching on here, but they are still way behind the big 4: Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
To encourage customers to buy or renew a two-year contract, the companies offer subsidies on the phones, usually $150 or so, if you sign a two-year contract. In essence, this enables the customer to buy a nicer phone and amortize the cost over two years. The issue then becomes you can't get a new phone for two years unless you want to pay the full price which can be upwards of $400.
This is why Google should require all Android manufacturers to provide Android updates for a minimum of two years. Three years or more would be the most ideal as most phones aren't on the market for more than a year. This way if you purchased a phone right at the end-of-life, you would still be covered with updates until you could purchase another subsidized phone.
On my current Samsung Epic 4G, the highest Android version I've seen come over-the-air(OTA) is 2.3.4, quite a bit behind the current 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone has been out for around 2 years now and I just became eligible for my upgrade this month.