If you’re walking around town and you see a light suddenly start to switch on and off seemingly at random, don’t discount it as a loose wire so quickly. [René] has been hard at work on a project to use city lights of all shapes and sizes for Morse messages, and a way for anyone to easily decode these messages if they happen upon one while out and about.
The lights can tell any story that is programmed into them. The code on the site is written for an Arduino-style microcontroller but it could be easily exported to any device that can switch power to turn a light on and off. Any light can work, there’s even video of a single headlight on a van blinking out some dots and dashes.
The other part of this project is a smartphone app that can decode the messages using the camera, although any Morse code interpreter can translate the messages, or if you’re a ham radio enthusiast you might recognize the messages without any tools whatsoever!
The great thing about this project is that it uses everyday objects to hide messages in plain sight, but where only some will be able to find them. This is indeed true hacker fashion! If you’re interested in making your own Morse code light, the code is available on the project site.
27 thoughts on “City Lights Telling Stories”
I’ll never understand “art”.
Most of the times art is nothing to understand but something to either enjoy or disturb.
There is no universal language to learn to understand art.
“Art” is what people do when they don’t have a “job”.
Plenty of “artists” out there making more money then you, mate :P
No, If there’s something I’ve learnt from FPSs it’s that when I see a blinking light and I’m holding a gun in my hand I should shoot at the wall or panel nearby. That almost always reveals a secret passage.
..-. ..- -.-. -.- “art”.
please don’t attempt this irl…
This is really cool. I love this. It looks like it is in Sydney. Where can I go to find the blikenlights?
THIS is a hack!
You need a pretty good brain to decode morse, create words, remember sentences and understand the story simulatiously. And few people walk around with pen and paper
Did you read the article? They had everyone download a smartphone app that used teh camera to decode the messages.
Also, some telegraph operators in the 1800’s did just that. ;)
It’s probably not a loose wire. Many people actually trigger street lamps to cycle on/off – Google around for street lamp interference.
Read the wikipedia article on street light interference. It’s just the human brain’s urge to find patters combined with the random side effects of long-life bulbs.
SLI is real – a friend of mine has a particularly strong case of it.
Well then “Berkeley EE”, you seem to be in a perfect position to prove its existence, what with your degree and your perfect case study you happen to know. Now go and write a paper up, prove the phenomenon and earn squillions, or STFU and stop spreading pseudoscience/encouraging the weak minded to believe bullshit. We have enough misinformation on this planet as it is.
Completely agree with you Anartech. And thanks to internet idiots all over the world got a great medium to spread idioticness. SLI is nothing more than this. It’d be like someone believing me if I say ‘I can teleport from one place to another randomly. But I can not do it infront of anyone else’
Coming back to hack, it is great as a hack but not sure how much value it would be. I’d surely not like to see street lights around my home flickering randomly, even if they are telling stories. But thinking exhibited in this hack is truly a hacker style.
Actually it is real I have developed the ability to conciously do this. I have statistically analyzed signifigance as well.
It is related to remote viewing which has been proven statistically. When the conciousness is projected it creates photons from the viewing point. These photons trigger the photodiode to turn the lamp off.
Read the chinese study about photons and remote viewing. The americans have tried to reproduce it but have had trouble with noise and did not use proven remote viewers. Just because something exists outside your understanding does not mean it is psuedoscience. Why would I need to bow down to academia and waste time on personal ego stroking when I can prove to myself something exists? I guess I don’t. Have fun being closed minded and rejecting psychic phonomena I am sure that will benefit you greatly in life over someone that can entertain the bizarre nature of human conciouseness and apply it to life.
Yes sure why. Everyone believes since you say it. I am firm believer of the fact that there is much more to what we know. If there is something we don’t understand it does NOT mean that it can not exist. However, even my this viewpoint does not help me in believing a word you said.
Oh for that teleportation, even I’ve developed ability to consciously control it. Its related to quantum-entanglement of tau-neutrinos which can be controlled to collapse and generate alfa-neutrinos on bombardment with gauge bosons. Read the Russian studies on it. Chines have tried it but they are having trouble with idiots.
“Actually it is real I have developed the ability to conciously[sic] do this.”
Again, words. Demonstrate it to a third party who can write a paper or get in touch with the randi foundation and earn yourself a cool million.
“Why would I need to bow down to academia and waste time on personal ego stroking when I can prove to myself something exists?”
“Have fun being closed minded and rejecting psychic phonomena I am sure that will benefit you greatly in life”
“I am sure that will benefit you greatly in life”
My point exactly. How far do you think humanity would have gotten if Pythagoras, Einstein, Bohr, and the rest had kept what they believed they had discovered (often considered by the pleb masses at the time to be some deep magic) to themselves. Way to hog the cake you selfish bastard.
I would tell you you’re wrong except I don’t want to be this guy: https://xkcd.com/386/
I don’t want to be *that guy, but I wonder what sort of criminal fines are associated with “interference with municipal infrastructure”. Granted, it is a light, but had it been a trafic light, or a water System, the Person involved might (joking here:) just end up in Guantanamo. I do wonder if the legality of this idea might be its downfall.
Oh sorry, I didn’t see that it was lights from regular sources.. I thought it was street lights. Carry on.
I love this project – This could be a neat trick for chistmas lights. Have them tell a story instead of pointless flickering – but will anybody notice and understand?
Don’t think they let ya play with street lights in the US. I dunno. Seems like they should just form a support group or hang with the local radio operator’s group. Not really seeing the art but I haven’t read the polysyllabic newspeak whitepaper outlining its “social relevance within the contained boundaries of shared property of communal media marginalized by non-gender defined communication protocol in an unspoken binary visual oration”. There is always some rat faeces like that trying to elevate a crumpled ball of foil lol. I guess at least they are having fun and learning about stuff (which I am sure will be well documented).
This project is stupid. Just stupid.
You’re not part of the in-crowd, unless you get your secret decoder app. Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.
Aren’t you worried of burning through bulbs, with all that flickering?
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