Hacking Stoplights

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Here's something that's useful only if no one else has one.

NEXT: Gone To Pot

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  1. Pretty soon I see all lights being green…

    ~crash~

  2. I suggest putting tinfoil hats on all the stoplights.

  3. anarchy in action!

    go anarchy!

  4. My God, people would be forced to treat stoplights as stop signs. Sheer chaos I tell you!

  5. I always thought the state lottery should have a drawing for one of these “turn the lights green” devices that you could use (or rent out) for one year.

    Personally I would be happy if the stoplights around where I live switched to blinking red/blinking yellow from 11pm-6am or so. Few things get me as angry as sitting at a red light when there’s no traffic whatsoever in a 1/2 mile radius.

  6. This is an old story. A friend of mine had a strobe light that did the same thing back in 1980. It’s also a non story, there simply aren’t many places where it will work, and there are lots of options available to comunities if it even begins to be a problem.

  7. I always thought the best way to do it is have Scott Evil hack into the computer that controls the traffic lights. Not only will you have a smooth ride, you’ll also be able to pin your enemies in traffic jams and steal their stuff.

    (Those who didn’t see the Italian Job this summer won’t get that.)

  8. there are lots of options available to comunities if it even begins to be a problem.

    Care to expand on that, Warren?

  9. Jesse,

    I think Warren was referring to strobe-light or radio activated systems, both of which are already in service in other communities.

  10. That is fucking sweet, you guys.

  11. “People are gullible, and they have discretionary income,” said P. David Fisher, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Michigan State University.

    2003 Most Blatantly Obvious Statement of The Year Award Nominee, Dr. P. David Fisher.

  12. It amazes me that the traffic light systems that have this sort of override use something that can easily be spoofed. You’d think it would occur to someone evaluating these things in the last ten years to ask about the system’s security.

  13. Unfortunately, this gadget generally only works for “offline” isolated intersections with little or no pedestrian activity. Most larger cities have their signals controlled by a mainframe computer most of the day to maintain at least a bare minimum of synchronization.
    You will find the occasional “pre-empt” application near fire halls, but again usually only effective for the immediately adjacent intersections (when the alarm goes off, the firemen push a button to stop traffic from blocking the driveway).
    The “in-vehicle” devices haven’t been used as widely due to the fact that they completely throw the signals out of whack once the emergency vehicle has passed. (I hear you all saying; the synchronization sucks anyway, but in fact traffic would be an even bigger nightmare without compatible frequencies and adequate green-time offsets).

    As for flash mode at night, the nannys at your local roads department are probabably cowed by liability concerns should a pedestrian need to cross the main street in the middle of the night. Studies showed collision rates increased at locations where they implemented flash mode. In any event, if the delays give you grief and there’s no one around, just run it like I do (after coming to a full and complete stop of course) provided there are no evil red-light cams in your jurisdiction.

    There, that’s my traffic engineering geekery for today. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  14. I wonder if a programmable remote would work at close range – in the dark?

    And if other drivers saw you, I wonder what they’d think when they saw you change the light with your remote. 🙂

  15. >>>I always thought the best way to do it is have Scott Evil hack into the computer that controls the traffic lights. Not only will you have a smooth ride, you’ll also be able to pin your enemies in traffic jams and steal their stuff.

  16. Anyone who buys one of these things thinking he’s got something nifty that will turn lights green is a living example of the aphorism “a fool and his money are soon parted.”

    First of all, it won’t work unless you have a pre-empt signal receiver hooked up to the stop light. Second, you’ve got to hope you’re dealing with a cheap system that is so mind-brainingly ill-designed there would be no security whatsoever. (Traffic control designers out there, take note when the city council tries to shove the cheap cut-rate option off on you, whining about budgetary problems.)

    I worked with the 3M Opticom system (the top–and standard–optical preempt system out there) for many years in Japan and I can tell you that just flickering a infrared emitter at the receiver is about as likely to trigger it as waving a flashlight at it. There is quite a lot of security in the system–in the signal, in the coding, and in the signal processing.

    My feeling is the manufacturers of these devices are laughing all the way to the bank knowing they have produced something totally useless but their customers won’t dare ask for refunds.

  17. Only Batman should have this technology.

  18. “Only Batman should have this technology.”

    but then only bad guys would be bats…

    or something like that…

  19. My feeling is the manufacturers of these devices are laughing all the way to the bank knowing they have produced something totally useless but their customers won’t dare ask for refunds.

    As the fella in the story says: “People are gullible, and they have discretionary income.”

  20. tzs: “Second, you’ve got to hope you’re dealing with a cheap system that is so mind-brainingly ill-designed there would be no security whatsoever.”

    Or, that the security feature is so, uh, ‘mind-brainingly’ ill-designed as to be unusable unless you only have one of these controllable lights in your town.

    If the security scheme doesn’t scale with the number of lights and/or the number of authorized users, then the security won’t be used.

  21. “Just like the guys who make “radar jammers” wchich supposedly give police radar a false reading. Funny how those devices never work when car magazines test them.”

    The radar jammers are also illegal. But how about the radar/laser detectors? Are those things effective?

  22. Gort, nichto baradu

  23. >> Oh, you mean that 90 minute Mini-Cooper ad my
    >> girlfriend made me go to? That movie sucked.

    I didn’t see it either. I refuse to shell out my hard earned money for ripoffs of classic movies. I mean, the original had Michael Caine and Noel Coward in it. How do you top that? Short answer: you don’t.

  24. > My feeling is the manufacturers of these
    > devices are laughing all the way to the bank
    > knowing they have produced something totally
    > useless but their customers won’t dare ask for
    > refunds.

    Just like the guys who make “radar jammers” wchich supposedly give police radar a false reading. Funny how those devices never work when car magazines test them.

  25. I know what I’m getting from Christmas!

  26. Just like the guys who make “radar jammers” wchich supposedly give police radar a false reading. Funny how those devices never work when car magazines test them.”

    I DON’T KNOW MABYE THEY’RE JUST AS STUPID AS YOU

    MY UNCLE INVENTED SEVERAL THINGS FOR THE DEFENCE DEPARTMENT AS WELL AS THE FIRST JAMMER BOX AND I PERSONALLY TESTED IT ON A RV (25 FOOT LONG AND 9 FOOT HIGH AND WE SPENT ALL DAY IN PERFECT WEATHER TRYING TO BEAT THE JAMMER BOX BUT THE ONLY TIME THE RADER GUN WAS ABLE TO LOCK IN A SPEED WAS WHEN WE ACCEDENTLY UNPLUGED IT

  27. FIRST JAMMER BOX wats the box name

  28. ps Scorpion xp $500 james all K X + BLINDER Laserjammer M-20 james all laser all the cops have is ka and that 10% of the time I have video of same fools up in Canada testing like 40x jammers only 1 works (sorry 4 the English not first)(o AND THE DONT SELL IT SO NO THE DONT WORK FOR THAT CORP) ALSO FOR ALL OF YOU WITH photo radar PROB GET A anti-photo radar license cover ITS LIKE $20 AND YO DONT HAVE TO PAY ALL BS 1AM RED LITE IKETS (I KNOW I BUCHERD YOUR LANGWICH SORY 2YERS IN SCHOOL IS NOT MACH )+ YOU DONT HAVE TO PAY THE FASTPASS TOLS (I GO ALL THE TIME NOT 1 TIKET) AND ITS LAGET IN usa AND CAN GO LOKK IT UP OR GO TO http://www.jammerstore.com/anti_photo.htm THATS WAT I HAVE

  29. anyone bought or saw any test results for the new scorpion ka band radar jammer,like to know how good it works,$1,200 price is a lot of money.thanks..rod

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