Mike Stevens | Nov 24, 2008

Russian design studio Art Lebedev – famous to internet nerds for its brilliant but prohibitively expensive Optimus keyboard – has brought forth its latest concept: square traffic lights. Now hold on there folks, there’s logic in them there right angles.

It seems – and no doubt this was always obvious to engineers and other smart folk – that the main reason for spherical lights, be they traffic or otherwise, is that a spherical bulb can more efficiently and evenly cast light through a round lens. Nowadays, with the advent and almost ubiquitous use of LED technology in traffic signals, we’re no longer tied to archaic concepts like round lights.

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Art Lebedev argues that a square light the same height and width as a regular traffic light will draw more attention from drowsy and distracted drivers, due to the simple fact that it’s lighting a larger area overall.

The square traffic light remains a concept at this stage, and considering that most traffic lights have only recently – as in the last five years or so – received updates to LED technology, not many councils are likely to invest in this clever but untested concept.

This jaded sci-fi fan reckons we’ll see them them on the streets of Mars, though.

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