Nottingham Trent University undergraduate Charles Gale

Student's road sign revolution

A student hopes his new hologram road signs which ‘pulse’ at drivers will lead to a revolution in the way motorists are given information on the roads.

Nottingham Trent University undergraduate Charles Gale has already obtained a patent for his design and is set to meet with transport officials to discuss how it could be used across the UK.

Using lenticular hologram technology, the signs display an animated reflective image that appears to pulse in day or night as road users approach and pass them.

“A lot of politicians have been debating the need for improvements to the UK’s traffic signs this year, and that’s what’s really inspired the project,” says Charles, 22, who studied product design at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment.

“Road signs have barely changed for years and are fading into the background. Studies have shown that satnavs and roadside advertising may be a distraction to motorists. Using lenticulars could help road signs really grab people’s attention. They catch your eye and you’re instinctively drawn to the information.

“From our research, it appears no-one else has ever considered using this technology in road signs before. A lot of research is LED-based, but the issue with that is delivering power to rural areas. That’s what’s great about my design – it doesn’t require any electricity whatsoever. The signs are made only of plastic and ink.

“They can also be retrofitted onto existing signs, so they’re really cost effective to fit and require no upheaval.”

Charles has now founded his own company, Keyframe Signage, with the help of the university’s centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise, The Hive. Once his patent has been fully approved, he is looking to license the design to existing manufacturers. He’s also exploring the potential to apply the technology to other signs, such as those for fire escapes.

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