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Has anyone seen this Solar-Roadway idea?

This is a discussion on Has anyone seen this Solar-Roadway idea? within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; This is actually a few months old now, but I just found out about it today : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways For those ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Alpo's Avatar
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    Has anyone seen this Solar-Roadway idea?

    This is actually a few months old now, but I just found out about it today :

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways

    For those who don't want to click the link, a summary is that these guys have generated 2.2 million in crowd-sourcing funds for their idea. They want to replace all roadways in America with glass panels, that are a sort of combination of solar panels, and LED displays.

    As happy as I am to see crowd-sourcing funding an engineering R&D project, this idea seems too reaching to me.

    If you take the component parts of the invention, a lot of them seem like good ideas. Heated roads. Parking lots that have LED lighting so you can change or expand the patterns. A giant solar panel grid (I believe they are wanting their own distribution system for the power as well.

    All of these sound like good things, but when you cram them all together you get something that just grates on common sense. Like the thought of driving on a solar panel made of glass. A solar panel that you can't angle toward the sun.

    Am I wrong though? Science and engineering have produced results antithetical to common sense before, what do you think about it?

  2. #2
    Programming Wraith GReaper's Avatar
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    Please view thunderfoot's opinion on this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocV-RnVQdcs
    Devoted my life to programming...

  3. #3
    Registered User Alpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GReaper View Post
    Please view thunderfoot's opinion on this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocV-RnVQdcs
    I feel a bit silly now thinking the LED part was a good idea. I've worked with enough to know they're not very bright, or at least not the majority. My stepdad used to have an LED flashlight that was bright enough to blind you, but it took more power than a small indicator to make it that way.

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    phantomotap likes this.

  5. #5
    Registered User Alpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    I had an errant thought when I read these lines:

    ------------------------------------------

    71 trillion dollars.
    Note that the cost is almost entirely proportional to area, so changing the tile size wont change that number significantly.

    Since we usually have trouble taking astronomical numbers like that in perspective, lets compare it to a few other astronomical numbers -

    ------------------------------------------

    So, I went and looked up the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy (300 billion), and it turns out this company would need about $236.67 dollars for every star in our galaxy. Plus if you think of the MTBF these things must have (probably anyway), I'm not sure how the commercial these guys made isn't considered false advertising.

    Edit: I mean, did they really believe they could produce results? It seems impossible they could have, though maybe they are just dreamers. Or maybe they will surprise everyone, who knows? (I'm betting not.)
    Last edited by Alpo; 08-22-2014 at 09:27 PM.

  6. #6
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    Or maybe they will surprise everyone, who knows?
    O_o

    If they rewrite what we now about harvesting solar energy, I'll be extremely happy.

    However, I expect this will be yet another tale passed around to warn people off throwing money at every whizzy thing they see on crowd funding sites.

    Soma
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    Salem Was Wrong! -- Pedant Necromancer

  7. #7
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    I only crowdfund games and books because I know I'm too stupid to understand ideas like these.

  8. #8
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    I only crowdfund games and books because I know I'm too stupid to understand ideas like these.
    O_o

    That seems unfair to projects which are sound.

    Good rule of thumb: if they can't explain the idea well enough that you understand, they probably can't pull it off.

    Soma
    Often out of periods of losing come the greatest strivings toward a new winning streak. -- Fred Rogers
    Salem Was Wrong! -- Pedant Necromancer

  9. #9
    Registered User Alpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    I only crowdfund games and books because I know I'm too stupid to understand ideas like these.
    I got a fishy feeling watching the add these people made, it reminded me of the ShamWow commercials (ShamWow was a horrible product, my friend gave me a few). So maybe I didn't catch on that it was a bad idea right away, but I definitely knew the commercial was manipulative.

    Phantomotap brings a good point, if the explanation for a product leaves you with more questions than it answers, it's probably a bad product (or a bad explanation).

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