Innovative Technology of the Week | Smart Street Lamps
A Dutch designer is hoping to not only save energy on streets around the world, but open up a new platform of digital communication. Driven by the amount of energy wasted on Europe’s street lamps lighting empty streets through the night, Chintan Shah developed a street lamp that responds to human movement using wireless sensors, providing light only when needed.
Shah found that Europe pays over €10 billion ($13 billion) a year powering streetlights, which accounts for more than 40% of government energy bills. This translates into 40 million tons of CO2 emissions annually — enough to power 20 million cars.
The technology can even tell the difference between a human and a cat. And with an internal monitoring system that sends notifications when the lamps need maintenance, Shah expects the design to save 50% in maintenance costs and up to 80% in energy costs. But his efforts do not end there – he hopes to incorporate other technology into the lamps, so that the lamps’ intelligence is not just practical but interactive. For example, the lamps could blink red when an ambulance approaches, or show the score of a game at a nearby stadium.
“This is not just about saving electricity, it’s not just about the medium, it’s about the message, and what you want it to generate.”