‘World first’ electronic ink traffic signs trialled in Australia

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Traffic signs using similar electronic ink technology to Amazon’s Kindle e-reader could soon be lining Australian roads, after a successful trial.Developed by Australia’s Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the new energy efficient signage is designed to allow the transport department to display up-to-date information to motorists.

“The technology came about through staff who saw the potential of e-reader technology to display real time information about clearways to manage traffic flows during special events,” a RMS spokesperson told Mashable Australia.

A specialised engineering team within the RMS developed the devices, bringing in U.S. company E ink to trial their electronic paper display technology on devices other than e-readers. The signs include wireless broadband and can be altered remotely.

The RMS spokesperson said 15 E Ink signs were trialled on George street in Sydney’s central business district. After the first successful test, a second rollout has taken place in the city’s Moore Park area.

E ink’s other customers have included Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Motorola, Pricer, Samsung and Sony.



It’s the first time globally electronic ink has been used in transport signage, Visionect, a Slovenian company that helped develop the technology, said in a statement.

The signs are solar powered, highly energy efficient and most importantly, they won’t fail during a power outage. “The hardware components are managed by server software programmed to ‘wake up’ the sign for certain pre-scheduled windows of time when the content on the sign will be changed using 3G technology,” said Rok Zalar, Visionect’s head of product development. “Outside of the ‘waking’ time, the traffic signs use no power.”

Should any hackers decide to get creative, “detection of location coordinates and tamper attempts” capabilities have been added to the signs, Visionect added.

Reports mashable.com

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