Mobile (Cellphone) Activated Streetlamps

23 Dec 2008 - 7:19am
5 years ago
15 replies
944 reads
John Gibbard
2008

This piece from BBC News [1] demonstrates how the residents of Doerentrup
can activate the street lighting via mobile phone. This requires them to
call a specific number and then use an access code to switch a specific
lighting array for the street they want lit-up. Given that this is targeted
at older people who may well have memory issues, it seems peculiar to force
them to remember a (series of) 6-digit access code(s). A case where voice
recognition seems a better option?

[1] <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7795492.stm>
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7795492.stm

Comments

23 Dec 2008 - 10:23am
Barbara Ballard
2005

On Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 6:19 AM, <john at smorgasbord-design.co.uk> wrote:
> This piece from BBC News [1] demonstrates how the residents of Doerentrup
> can activate the street lighting via mobile phone. This requires them to
> call a specific number and then use an access code to switch a specific
> lighting array for the street they want lit-up. Given that this is targeted
> at older people who may well have memory issues, it seems peculiar to force
> them to remember a (series of) 6-digit access code(s). A case where voice
> recognition seems a better option?

What is the text message use rate in that demographic? Wouldn't it be
possible to put the code directly on the actual street lamps?

And wouldn't location be a good addition to this service? Perhaps
enough to make it a downloaded application?

But if you require voice services only, I agree that speech
recognition of street names are likely to be a good match. But it
introduces a serious risk of errors that will drastically increase
cognitive load if it isn't handled perfectly.

~~~~
Barbara Ballard
barbara at littlespringsdesign.com 1-785-838-3003

23 Dec 2008 - 4:25pm
Loren Baxter
2007

"What is the text message use rate in that demographic? Wouldn't it be
possible to put the code directly on the actual street lamps?"

>From what I remember of the piece yesterday, they have placed the numbers
directly on the street lamps.

Not to say that this is the most usable solution. It immediately sounded a
bit clunky to me. I'd love to hear how well this ends up working for the
locals.

Loren

-----
http://acleandesign.com

23 Dec 2008 - 1:05pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Maybe they did it smart (or have it easy) and the six digits come
naturally from the village grid, so you need to one where you are and
the system, not a magic number.

-- Jim
Via my iPhone

On Dec 23, 2008, at 4:19 AM, <john at smorgasbord-design.co.uk> wrote:

> This piece from BBC News [1] demonstrates how the residents of
> Doerentrup
> can activate the street lighting via mobile phone. This requires
> them to
> call a specific number and then use an access code to switch a
> specific
> lighting array for the street they want lit-up. Given that this is
> targeted
> at older people who may well have memory issues, it seems peculiar
> to force
> them to remember a (series of) 6-digit access code(s). A case where
> voice
> recognition seems a better option?
>
> [1] <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7795492.stm>
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7795492.stm
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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23 Dec 2008 - 7:59am
tamlyn
2008

Perhaps, but voice recognition has its own problems. Most people
probably only have 2 or 3 streets they regularly need to light up so
keeping a note of those by the telephone shouldn't be much of a
problem.

With a bit of extra technology they could use bluetooth proximity
sensors to switch on the lights as you walk towards them!

Tamlyn.

23 Dec 2008 - 3:09pm
vzambrano
2008

I see a match to pre-registered mobile phones with enabled bluetooth
that turns up lights along the person's path. Given bluetooth has a
10 metre range, it is perfect for this usage, and the effect is that
of magically lighting up your path, like the one in the Wizard of Oz
movie.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 Dec 2008 - 1:12pm
DampeS8N
2008

silly, silly use of technology.

Why, pray tell, did they not just put buttons on the side of the
lamps? Pressing one will turn on the lamps for a section.

Also, wouldn't regular use of this system be the same as them all
always being on?

What they hell do they plan to save?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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28 Dec 2008 - 8:53am
Karl Proctor
2008

The web page only has part of the story that was reported on BBC World
in Hong Kong...The 'service' isn't only aimed at the older people,
though the web did give that impression. On the TV report, it showed
different age groups using the service.

All of the six digit codes are listed on a central web page, but as
Tamlyn commented, people tend to walk the same streets, so people
will probably write down the code that they need on a piece of paper
(or something similar) until they can remember them.

I think that the idea of using bluetooth is interesting but
considering that most people dont know how to enable bluetooth, make
their device discoverable or add/pair a device, I dont think that it
is practical. Plus there are privacy considerations for bluetooth
usage.

If the lamps have a button on the side to switch on for that section,
they are a potential target for vandalism; In the UK a few years ago,
teenagers would use superglue on the buttons for pedestrian crossings
to keep the buttons constantly depressed, much to the annoyment of
drivers. I think that the buttons on the street lights could suffer
a similar fate.

I do think that this is a great idea, and I do believe that it will
be a benefit to the council and the environment. If there is no-one
around at 3am, why have the lights on??! It is ideas like this which
will help the environment. Hats off to the village of Doerentrup!

-Karl

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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28 Dec 2008 - 3:24pm
mark ahlenius
2008

When I worked at Motorola we had a system for activating the ceiling
lights in our office spaces (I do believe the inventors got a patent on
it too). Anyhow the lights were wired in banks or groups of lights and
each group had a 5 digit number printed on it. The lights would go out
after 6 or 7 pm an night and remain off till the next work day. If you
were in late or came in later, you could dial up a DTMF based actuator
system, punch in the code and turn on your lights. They were good for
about 4 hours or so then. It was an easy way to save some green.

But thinking of this system with the street lights, that's quite another
system. Why not have more of an automatic or follow me type system?
Use either BT or WiFi with a transmitted beacon from your mobile and
have the lights come on automatically. Each light would stay on for say
1 minute or so after it loses your beacon system. That way the lights
may go on for you without having to press any buttons.

'mark

Karl Proctor wrote:
> The web page only has part of the story that was reported on BBC World
> in Hong Kong...The 'service' isn't only aimed at the older people,
> though the web did give that impression. On the TV report, it showed
> different age groups using the service.
>
> All of the six digit codes are listed on a central web page, but as
> Tamlyn commented, people tend to walk the same streets, so people
> will probably write down the code that they need on a piece of paper
> (or something similar) until they can remember them.
>
> I think that the idea of using bluetooth is interesting but
> considering that most people dont know how to enable bluetooth, make
> their device discoverable or add/pair a device, I dont think that it
> is practical. Plus there are privacy considerations for bluetooth
> usage.
>
> If the lamps have a button on the side to switch on for that section,
> they are a potential target for vandalism; In the UK a few years ago,
> teenagers would use superglue on the buttons for pedestrian crossings
> to keep the buttons constantly depressed, much to the annoyment of
> drivers. I think that the buttons on the street lights could suffer
> a similar fate.
>
> I do think that this is a great idea, and I do believe that it will
> be a benefit to the council and the environment. If there is no-one
> around at 3am, why have the lights on??! It is ideas like this which
> will help the environment. Hats off to the village of Doerentrup!
>
> -Karl
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36621
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>
>

28 Dec 2008 - 5:45pm
Mark Young
2008

As I get older (and my night vision gets weaker) I think I will try
use a head lamp more often. I've started keeping one in my car.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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29 Dec 2008 - 1:05am
Fredrik Matheson
2005

Using time delay light switches in common areas of residential buildings is
common in Germany, so it's interesting to see that this approach has been
take outdoors. Fumbling around for the light switch (which is usually
illuminated but not always easy to find) is a little annoying, but they turn
off the light after a few minutes, so it saves lots of energy in a very
low-tech way.

LED streetlights are another great way to save energy and money as well:
http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20081217/a-bright-future

Motion detectors would have been an even easier way to turn on the lights,
but street lights often have just one switch per street; they're not
individually addressed. Motion detectors are being installed in many newer
buildings, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them on newly paved streets in
the near future.

SMS (text messages) was likely chosen as a means of controlling the lights
because it's so readily available – every handset can send one. People from
all walks of life have been using text messages with command-line-style
codes to download ringtones, images and games, or to register for events,
order items and so on, for nearly ten years. Experience-wise, it's not a
very elegant means of controlling street lights, but it gets the job done.

For those of you who speak German, here's more on how the service works:
https://www.dial4light.de/dial4light/d4lDefault.do

29 Dec 2008 - 3:07am
Fredrik Matheson
2005

A little more investigation reveals that the system is call-driven. You dial
a number (that you of course can store in your contacts) and enter the six
digit code to turn on the lights in your street.
That way, even old landline phones that can send DTMF signals can be used to
turn on the lights, but you still have to register that number online.

An added advantage of using "voice" rather than SMS is that voice calls
either go through immediately or get refused, while SMS messages can be
queued, delaying the lighting.

29 Dec 2008 - 1:58pm
Phillip Hunter
2006

Just to touch on the use of speech recognition referred to in earlier posts. A village or small town with a fairly small number of streets should work fairly well. And recognition errors could be designed around by simply accepting all likely matches, i.e., there's little harm in turning on 3 or 4 streets worth of lights for 15 minutes.

The real problem with the codes being on the light or using a button is safety. When I am on a dark street, having to walk up to the dark light means I am exposed to potential harm from not having light, whether it's tripping over something or being accosted by someone I can't see.

I think an interesting addition would be to allow sending an SMS of the first few letters of a street's name. That would either result in all the lights for that street to be turned on, or a list being returned.

ph

28 Dec 2008 - 10:16pm
Bengi Turgan
2008

well wouldn't motion sensors be a better solution? of course if there are no
horses or cows running freely on the streets.

Bengi Turgan
Project Manager
Bilende LLC

On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 12:45 AM, Mark Young <mark at vizmo.com> wrote:

> As I get older (and my night vision gets weaker) I think I will try
> use a head lamp more often. I've started keeping one in my car.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36621
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

31 Dec 2008 - 2:54pm
Carol J. Smith
2007

Motion sensors might be set off by passing cars.

Regardless, it is always better to turn off a light rather than leave it on
- even for a few seconds.

Mythbusters proved that: http://mythbustersresults.com/episode69
Busted Myth: Temporarily leaving a light on is more energy efficient than
turning it off and back on.

"Through numerous tests, the MythBusters calculated that the power surge
from turning on a light would only consume as much power as leaving it on
for a fraction of a second (except for fluorescent tube lights; the startup
consumed about 23 seconds worth of power). Furthermore, the wear and tear of
turning the light on and off repeatedly did not reduce the bulb's total life
expectancy enough to offset the increased electricity usage. Therefore, it
is far more economical to turn a light off rather than leaving it on."
Happy New Year everyone!
Carol

On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 10:16 PM, Bengi Turgan <bengiturgan at gmail.com>wrote:

> well wouldn't motion sensors be a better solution? of course if there are
> no
> horses or cows running freely on the streets.
>
> Bengi Turgan
> Project Manager
> Bilende LLC
>
> On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 12:45 AM, Mark Young <mark at vizmo.com> wrote:
>
> > As I get older (and my night vision gets weaker) I think I will try
> > use a head lamp more often. I've started keeping one in my car.
> >
> >
> > . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> > Posted from the new ixda.org
> > http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36621
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

1 Jan 2009 - 12:11pm
mark ahlenius
2008

Hi,

The whole issue here is really about saving energy and lowering "light
pollution". But regarding the mythbusters data - it may be true for
incandescent bulbs, but it is *not* true for many of the bulbs used in
street lamps (at least in the US). Low pressure sodium bulbs, or mercury
vapor lamps, metal halide bulbs, etc. are used for the street lights.
They use a ballast transformer and circuitry to either preheat the gas
in the tubes or generate a high voltage to ignite an arc. These bulbs
have a greater efficiency of light or lumens produced per watt consumed
- but cannot be continuously power cycled on/off. Typical on/off cycling
needs to be at least 5-10 minutes or more. Plus these types of lamps
typically have a slow start time, it may take up to a minute or more for
them to reach full brightness, which would render them not too useful
for this type of application. Now of course if a different type of bulb
technology is used (incandescent for example) then that's another story.
:-)

"On/off operation

It may seem simple, but on/off operation is an area where many designers
create an unworkable lighting scheme. For example, consider the
metal-halide lighting system in the /Photo/, on page 40. /Restrike
time/, which refers to the time it takes a lamp to begin giving off
light after being turned on, is crucial for this type of system. Once
metal-halides are shut off, they take several minutes to begin giving
off light again after being turned back on. If all of your lamps are
metal-halide and you shut them off at night, you'll wait 15 min for a
reasonable level of light when you turn them on the next day. By adding
other types of light, as well as dedicating certain fixtures to an
“always on” configuration, you can reduce the effect of the restrike
time. In planning the layout of your lighting controls, make it obvious
which lights should not be shut off, and pay special attention to exit
path lighting." (from EC & M ezine).

'mark

Carol Smith wrote:
> Motion sensors might be set off by passing cars.
>
> Regardless, it is always better to turn off a light rather than leave it on
> - even for a few seconds.
>
> Mythbusters proved that: http://mythbustersresults.com/episode69
> Busted Myth: Temporarily leaving a light on is more energy efficient than
> turning it off and back on.
>
> "Through numerous tests, the MythBusters calculated that the power surge
> from turning on a light would only consume as much power as leaving it on
> for a fraction of a second (except for fluorescent tube lights; the startup
> consumed about 23 seconds worth of power). Furthermore, the wear and tear of
> turning the light on and off repeatedly did not reduce the bulb's total life
> expectancy enough to offset the increased electricity usage. Therefore, it
> is far more economical to turn a light off rather than leaving it on."
> Happy New Year everyone!
> Carol
>
>
> On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 10:16 PM, Bengi Turgan <bengiturgan at gmail.com>wrote:
>
>
>> well wouldn't motion sensors be a better solution? of course if there are
>> no
>> horses or cows running freely on the streets.
>>
>> Bengi Turgan
>> Project Manager
>> Bilende LLC
>>
>> On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 12:45 AM, Mark Young <mark at vizmo.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> As I get older (and my night vision gets weaker) I think I will try
>>> use a head lamp more often. I've started keeping one in my car.
>>>
>>>
>>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36621
>>>
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>>
>>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>

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