Dave Gross aka "Dr. Dave" of Fort Wayne, Indiana's Fun 107.1 FM has spent the last fourteen years casually working on a device that would allow traffic lights to change automatically for emergency responders between getting his medical degree and spinning tunes.
Now that the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has ruled in favor of declaring him a "qualified Indiana business" allowing him to start selling stock, Gross might be able to bring his product "The Eliminator" into prime time.
Though he might have some steep competition now that Audi's getting into the to light-changing business, Gross reckons there's no school like old school— his system pairs vehicle-based transmitters to intersection-based receivers that hop across FM radio signals.
The idea is that as an emergency vehicles and traffic lights are constantly pinging each other over the airwaves, so they always know each other's relative position. As the ambulance or fire truck approaches an intersection, the Eliminator is designed to automatically trigger a green light for the rescuer and red in the other directions.
Gross told the Indiana News Sentinel he started the Eliminator project in 1997 after seeing an ambulance gridlocked in a crowded intersection. Since then, he's been perfecting the equations the device uses to determine where emergency vehicles are coming from.
To supplement his skills he's exchanged profit-sharing for expertise from engineering, legal, and computer-science specialists around his base in northeast Indiana. Though whether or not the idea will make any profit is still speculative.
Those big bucks won't come in until he can sell it to a major city, but he reports that a deal is being considered by Abu Dhabi, UAE. Based on the Emirates history of hooking up their first responders, that would actually make a lot of sense.
Hat tip to Dan Parmelee, Image from bulliver/Flickr.