March 6, 2012
Norbert Okec is a former bio-chemistry engineer from Uganda who has designed and built a solar-powered traffic light controller system. Traffic lights are not many in his city (Gulu, in Nothern Uganda), and the current ones do not always operate effectively. It is from this observation that Norbert Okec decided to develop his system that is essentially composed of recycled materials.
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The traffic light system is equipped with LED (light emitting diodes) that consumes little power; which is another advantage of the system that uses solar power as an alternative energy. In other words, the system should also be able to use electricity from the power grid. A controller board controls the whole system that turns on traffic lights to the appropriate color.
Norbert Okec has succeeded to make a complicated system (traffic lights) as simple as possible. Thanks to its simplicity, the system can be easily designed and maintained. The invention is open source, and the inventor is working on a free e-book (with circuit’s diagram of the controller board, among others) that will explain how the system can be manufactured.
Norbert Okec is showing that traffic lights can be manufactured in Africa and installed at most crossroads. As Africa is rather known for power outages, powering traffic lights with solar energy is an eco-friendly alternative that African authorities should be looking at seriously.
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