This German Traffic Light Lets You Play “Pong” While You Wait To Cross The Street

Wait for the signal, look right, look left. They’re straightforward instructions, but rarely followed well in big cities. If urban planners want people to stand in the same spot, maybe they need to give them a better incentive than not being hit by a car. That’s why designers Sandro Engel and Amelie Künzler came up with a simple game of Pong for pedestrians to play while waiting to cross the street.

Engel and Künzler first mocked up what they’re now calling the ActiWait a couple of years ago. It started out as an “urban interactions” class project that the two pursued as graduate students, and today, Engel and Künzler have launched a company called Urban Invention that spun out of that original idea.

Getting the German city of Hildesheim to install their vision, however, remains a challenge. It took several months of negotiating with the city council to okay the installation of an ActiWait pilot on one of the city’s traffic lights. The ActiWait is now undergoing various kinds of testing for four weeks. If it gets positive feedback, Engel and Künzler hope to expand.

“I thought the time waiting at a traffic light is really boring,” Engel says. “I want to transform the boring time to an awesome time.”

If all goes well, future ActiWaits could contain different games, news updates, or even traffic safety lessons for kids. Engel and Künzler are currently trying to raise funds for the mass production of these tools through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Click here to check it out.SB