There are some aspects of daily life that very few people actually know how they work. One area that we know very little about is roadways. People are often shocked to see just how big traffic lights and road signs actually are. They would also be amazed to learn just how the painting of symbols on the road actually happens. These giant symbols, such as "right turn only" or "school zone," are hand-painted, or painted using giant stencils. This realization was so surprising for Sam Bell that he founded RoadPrintz.
RoadPrintz is a company that is dedicated to automating the process of printing on the road. Bell was involved in a multi-million dollar project and was shocked to discover that certain road printing projects would not be undertaken because of the cost. The cost was not just in the initial implementation but in upkeep. It turns out that these have to be repainted annually, making it an eternal cost.
Once he began to investigate, he discovered that a large portion of the price was because at least five people are involved in the painting process, including those who control traffic, drop stencils, and paint. The process takes time, leaving these people in the middle of the street. This could be dangerous for them as well as motorists. Since lines are painted autonomously, why not symbols, as well?
That was the question that was answered by RoadPrintz - it absolutely can be. Using and training a robotic arm, the company was able to completely print road symbols quicker, cheaper, and safer than normal. This new process is a win for everyone involved. The intention is for cities to be able to purchase these robotic arms and use them to create and maintain their roads.
The product is currently in a testing phase, with hopes to bring it to market for cities and municipalities in the near future. For more information on the company, check out their website.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.