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Vietnam students create solar traffic light system able to take photos of violators

Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 14:09 GMT+7

Two high school students in central Vietnam have created a traffic light system which uses solar power, is able to capture photos of traffic law violators, and give warnings about traffic jams. The traffic light system earned Le Nhat Hung and Nguyen Tien Dung, 12th and 11th graders from Le Quy Don High School for Gifted Students in Da Nang City, the second prize at the southern region round of the 2015 National Science Contest for High School Students. Dung and Hung also received a special prize from Microsoft at the competition for the device they call a smart and environment-friendly traffic light system.  The two said the idea of making the system occurred to them a long time ago, after they watched traffic flows in many cities and provinces across the country for a while. “The traffic was chaotic in most places, as we saw it,” Dung said. “Jams, red light running, and travelers’ limited awareness are the issues besides the light punishment imposed on violators.” “It’s scary to hear about road accidents,” they said.  It took the students a year to realize their idea with around VND7 million (US$322). The duo used their knowledge of physics and informatics to write software and buy circuits and solar batteries from shops and scrap dealers to create their system, which could absorb the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity. According to Hung, when the red light turns on, the machine’s distance sensor using sound waves is activated and operates continuously to calculate the distance between the light and vehicles, then report to a camera if any of them crosses the stop line. In the process, the camera will take photos of the violators and transfer them to a cloud computing database via Wi-Fi or wired devices, he said. Traffic police can access the management software later and see the photos, vehicle registration plates, time, date, and the places where the law was broken. The system can also detect vehicles which run in the wrong lane or in the opposite direction. Moreover, it can also send reports on traffic jams to traffic controllers, as well as give warnings with text running on screens. Do Van Nho, an informatics teacher at Le Quy Don who directly supervised his students creating the system, said the two had met many difficulties since its software and hardware were quite strange to high school students. “This is a multifunctional system and it works almost automatically,” Nho said. “It’s a successful beginning.” Hung and Dung said that they are working to perfect their product, hoping scientists and experts will pay attention and provide support to apply the system to real life.

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