Interactive crossing seeks to keep pedestrians safe

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The surface of the crossing features LED lights that come on based on the movement of pedestrians detected by cameras.

Dubbed the "Starling Crossing" by designers from United Kingdom technology company Umbrellium, it aims to update the traditional British zebra crossing with the help of a neural network and tracking cameras, which can calculate the trajectory of anyone walking across its surface.

A fancy pedestrian crossing has been unveiled that alerts drivers when a passer-by dashes out into the road unexpectedly, and shows the person's trajectory.

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It uses familiar road markings and colours, but reacts in real time to different conditions, and can adapt accordingly. It uses computer-controlled LEDs embedded in a road that are bright enough to grab the attention of pedestrians distracted by their mobile devices.

And yes, it remains slip free in pouring rain too. And if a lot of people are waiting to cross the road, it can widen to accommodate everyone.

Cameras track objects moving across the road surface and distinguish between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. For example, early in the morning when there are few pedestrians, the crossing may only appear when someone approaches, guiding them to the crossing location that it has learned over time is the safest, but otherwise leaving the road clear for traffic.

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Usman Haque, founding partner of the project's design agency Umbrellium, started work on the project away after noticing people's desks being moved around his studio to make more space.

Umbrellium's concept is also designed with "smombies" in mind, the pavement displays a countdown timer and crossing symbols for those staring down.

"We're trying to update it for the 21st century with a crossing that deals with the fact that people are on mobile phones and they might not be looking up, vehicles might be coming more often, there might be pedestrians suddenly coming out at the end of a film needing to cross". It was designed for cities in an older age and we use cities in a very different way now.

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