Apparently, lampposts really don't get enough credit for all they do, as not only do they provide a crucial light source for us night-owls, but we've got them to thank for WiFi hotspots, surveillance checkpoints, and if Philips has its way, on-road warning signs. The oft overlooked street lamp could be getting a bit of an upgrade according to a recent patent application from Philips, as the company envisions a "traffic information system" designed to convey messages to drivers without requiring them to look away from the road ahead. By installing a high-powered "laser" and matching it up with movable mirrors, the firm hopes to divulge pertinent information such as upcoming hazards, weather conditions, or other random tidbits of knowledge onto the pavement for drivers to view. Moreover, the units would be RF / IP controllable in order to change the messages nearly on-the-fly, giving motorists a quick heads-up about recent traffic changes or detours. Still, the premise of beaming warning signs on the road ahead sounds perfectly viable if you're on a rural two-lane at 2:00AM, but we can't imagine things being very legible when it's beaming messages onto hoods of angry commuters in your average city.

[Via New Scientist]

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Philips proposes laser-projecting lampposts to get motorists' attention