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FreewayWriter (idea #112)
Category: Technology / Heavy Equipment
Target Audience: Road-building equipment mfr's.
Description: A highway's wet-weather traction is improved by grooves in the concrete, now standard in road construction. These channels produce a hum that's audible in any vehicle that travels over them, and varying the grooves' direction, spacing, and depth changes the resulting sound's volume and frequency (see S. Meiarashi et al.). FreewayWriter takes advantage of this effect to make highways sing-- literally. The computer-controlled tining machine etches complex patterns into the pavement that not only improve highway safety, but also play music to motorists-- even in stereo, when the left and right sides of the lane are etched differently. It's a great way to reduce deadly "highway hypnosis" on long, remote stretches of road, or even to deliver commercial messages. You're exhausted, you're still hours from your destination, and suddenly the road sounds like Rhapsody in Blue; that's when you think, "next time, I'm taking United Airlines."
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