Can’t Cross A Virtual Wall

The Virtual Wall provides a barrier made up of plasma laser beams depicting pedestrians doing what they do best and any car that crosses that barrier suffers the consequences. Okay so maybe those lasers aren’t powerful enough to do any harm but the effect is enough to make drivers and pedestrians alike follow crosswalk rules to the tee.

Designer: Hanyoung Lee


  • Hiphopopotamus says:

    This makes me want to drive through it… not exactly the effect that a stop light should evoke.

  • strider_mt2k says:

    Pedestrian impacts also cause unnecessary paint damage and may possibly void certain manufacturer warranties and/or service agreements.

  • Mazza says:

    This would be great until an emergency services vehicle such as an ambulance crashes because the driver’s vision was impaired.

    • joe says:

      Ambulances give off some sort of radio signal which can turn red lights into green lights; why shouldn’t this signal be able to turn off the wall as well?

      • Lewis says:

        This is not true, I have friends in the force that have verified how much of a myth this really is.

        • Eric says:

          I’m not sure where you live, but I just saw a 1 hour long show on Discovery channel that talks about the fire engines in southern California that do use a signal to turn lights a block ahead of them… Maybe not for cop cars, but I’ve seen it for buses too…

          • Rick says:

            Depends on the government agency. Some have the signal pre-emption system and some do not. If the vehicle does not have a transmitter or the signal does not have a receiver, so pre-emption. They also have to be the same manufacturer to work (at least with the new ones with security so the devices sold on the internet won’t work).

        • bob says:

          your wrong its called preempt and it set the traffic signals to be green in the direction of travel for rescue vech.

  • Nacon says:

    it’s a fine idea….. but how are they plan on doing that? Using laser today is not possible to display such detail or image appearing in mid air.

    So my question is…. why post such a faulty dream hope idea when it’s not possible?

    • Dovidl says:

      With an attitude like yours designers still would think about realizing the wheel…

      • crizzz says:

        They invented the wheel, because they didn’t waste time with useless things.

      • Tomer Chachamu says:

        With an attitude like this designer, we would all be designing concept cars with wings before even inventing the wheel.

        • Kyran Cinflaria says:

          and would that be so bad? I like the idea of jumping development

    • See says:

      pretty cool what they can do dude, i think its possible but dont ask me how 😛

      • Quantum says:

        Well that holographic technology wont work because it needs to be in a glass prisim, and a road won't be very usable with a giant glass prisim in the middle of it! No but seriously, some of these designers need to create designs that pay attention to reality, like for example, whats a plasma laser? The whole concept revolves around it but nothing of the sort exists and the designer makes no attempt to explain what it is or what it does.

    • tosika says:

      It is possible today. I have seen it in a doorway. Only it needs steam or fog for the laser to be visible on a bright day. don’t be so negative. we need to progress, and traffic lights are so old. Think about it…A rock still works fine as a hammer, but it didn’t stop somebody from inventing a new hammer. (P.S. and the hammer turned into a drill)

    • pat says:

      It’s just a concept man, it doesn’t have to come true in the slightest. If all of the designers had the same thought process that you do, there would be almost nothing on this website.

      Lighten up.

    • GL says:

      Faulty Dream Hope ideas is a step that leads to Real Good Working ideas sometimes. Have you ever done any concept designs?

      Posting is sharing and any idea no matter how faulty or dreamy it is can inspire other designers to create other great products.

      Take your head out man.

  • Nacon says:

    Oh OH ohhh! got a better idea since those don’t really stop you from hitting anyone…. Let the computer drive the car for you. Duh.

    Don’t need giant red people roaming all over the places. -_-;

  • Sean says:

    (posting from the year 2028)
    Yes, I hate these laser walls that clog our every turn. It was ok in the 2010’s, when they were only used in dense urban areas. But, then the city of Houston made that deal with GoogleSoft to outsource their infrastructure development for a slice of advertising royalties. The new “adlights” spread everywhere as cities, towns, and truck stops tried to get in on the action.

    If only we could simplify the design a bit. Focus the signal into a smaller visual footprint, perhaps with different colors for whether you should yield, stop, or go. It would be cheaper, more reliable, and easier to maintain. And no more ads.

    I hate you, GoogleSoft.

  • wolfshades says:

    I like this idea. A lot.
    But I agree with the first comment too: people (ME!) would be tempted just to drive through it. I would enhance it a bit: put in motion sensors too so that if the car crashes into the image, some huge speakers would blare out screams and cries of “KENNY! OH MY GOD – YOU KILLED KENNY!” and we would have visuals of big red people flying in different directions.

    That’d learn them.

  • chetan sorab says:

    surely innovative. Impressive

  • igreenspot says:

    I love the idea, but I think certain cars need to get special exclusion, such as ambulance, police car …

  • Eric K says:

    This is ‘design’? You come up with something impossible with current technology, ignore the need to create technology to make it possible, photoshop a picture of it, then claim you ‘designed’ it?

    I assumed that the idea of designing such technology involved creating a viable blueprint for the hardware and programming necessary to implement the idea. I was really looking forward to an explanation if how these ‘plasma lasers’ were going to make images hover in midair in broad daylight.

    But if that’s not the case, I can see a career for myself designing flying saucers, killer robots, and rocket pants. It should be easy now that I don’t have to worry about such important things as how or why.

    • Nacon says:


    • Bill Vincent says:

      Eric K:

      This is the kind of inventing that got us into modern civilization. Forward thinking, thinking outside the box. If nobody bothered to dream up anything new simply because it wasn’t possible yet, we’d all still be barbarians living in caves banging on rocks, instead of barbarians living in wooden houses banging on keyboards. Everything you have, everything you see, is possible because someone like Mr. Lee thought outside the bounds of the mundane and chose to look to the future. DaVinci invented hundreds of things that couldn’t be built in his lifetime, but it never stopped him. You should thank people like them instead of belittling them.
      Furthermore, the invention as pictured is just a CONCEPT. While it may never be produced as such, a concept frequently opens discussion and research in the directions needed to devise other useful things.

      • frymaster says:

        This does not under any circumstances fall under the catorgory of “inventing”. Inventing implies something that HAS been built or IS POSSIBLE to build or MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO BUILD WITH SOME DEVELOPMENT. You might as well “deisgn” a personal teleportation system to make cars obsolete and solve the problem that way.

        contrast with someone like Johnny Chung Lee ( his videos are at ). He has “thought outside the box” with such common things as the Wii controller or some fibre-optice cable and simple light sensors, and created stunning applications from them. That is innovation of the highest order. Simply letting your imagination run riot is not design, or invention.

        Da Vinci produced concepts for things that could not yet be built, and the problems were obvious – “Can’t spin this fast enough at this time” or “we can’t make this material strong enough at this time” – because Da Vinci’s work was underpinned by a real knowledge of how the world works. Hanyoung Lee’s design does not have practical problems because it is not a practical solution. For a start, what on earth is a “plasma laser beam” in this context? He went to the trouble of being that specific…

        This isn’t design, it’s sci-fi fiction. And _BAD_ sci-fi at that – most fiction these days tries not to make such basic errors.

        • jrbarnes says:


          Given the amount of steam blowing out of your ass – the opacity will be sufficient enough for the lasers to be visible. Perhaps you can reside on the road so that this visionaries concept can be fully realized.

          Stick with what you know and best wishes with starting your camp fires by banging rocks together.


        • wSer says:

          frymaster, did you search ‘Plasma-Laser’ on Google? Maybe you could have saved a lot of words. And
          Look at this:

        • Kyran Cinflaria says:

          We’re coming out with the technology to build this right now. Check out the holocube on this site. Apparently this is possible.

  • Eric K says:

    Another question:

    If you have lasers powerful enough to be seen in daytime, they’re certainly not going to be eye-safe. How do you create this impossible technology in such a way as to be eye-safe?

    • newnickname says:

      You just need to clap a bunch of chalk board erasers around the laser.

    • Dovidl says:

      A variant a the design could be to show the wall in a height of 4 or 5 meters.
      This idea wouldn’t make it necessary to make the lasers eye-safe and also could show other signs like arrows / stop- or other signs.
      Ok this exists already – but without laser.

    • Austin says:

      Wow… a lot of you people are incredibly ignorant and close minded. as wSer states, stick to things you actually know about, rather than just guessing because you’ve never personally seen the technology yourself.

      There are situations that prevent inventors from divulging too much public information for fear of competition and other scientists from stealing the ideas.

      If you do some websearching you can find thinks like:
      German Patent (2006) on “high color fidelity can be projected onto video screen holograms even in a daylight environment. ”

      Holography has been around since 1947, however, it’s only until now, volumetric displays of such technology are becoming a reality, although still mostly available to academics and the military (this is why the lay person hasn’t been educated on this technology).


      I do agree, the impracticality of this will be a factor in it’s application. I didn’t realize pedestrians were such a problem in urban areas, I’ve been living in NY for years and have not been struck by a car… as long as you’re paying attention, you should be find and the practical application of this seems an expense a city planner can avoid at this time.

    • Keandre Espina says:

      most cars have tinted windows that could block out a bit of the light and it doesn't beam the lasers directly at drivers or pedestrians

    • Keandre Espina says:

      most cars have tinted windows that could block out a bit of the light and it doesn't beam the lasers directly at drivers or pedestrians

  • Gavin Greenwalt says:

    Looks cool but wildly impractical even beyond the technological hurdles of creating a wall of light in thin air.

    – Right hand turns on red are legal… so you could have trouble seeing pedestrians. Through any kind of ‘wall’.
    – How do we have plasma walls but not cars that can manage to not hit a pedestrian? If I have plasma fences I expect automatic cars or at least some sort of cool down town pod train system.

  • chuck says:

    i think ppl will spoil it in my country XD
    the cost not low right !

  • Mr. Peepers says:

    It’s impossible, and can’t possibly work (without photoshop). Other than that, it’s quite nice

  • chris says:

    Where’s the problem…? You simply slide up a big windowpane out of the ground and use it as a projection surface. If the glass is thick enough it really protects the pedestrians behind it.

  • Lone says:

    Or we could finally get automated traffic/roadways going after the last 60 years of speculation and development, and do away with hopelessly bad drivers and traffic lights (or walls) altogether.
    However impractical the design is, if mostly technical, its still a positive reinterpretation of an every day fixture and thats what matters. One things leads to another and all ends are unknown.

    Eric K, you should have just said you didn’t agree with the use of the word designer in this case and left it at that. Otherwise you sound like you believe every rough concept out there needs to be backed up by a million dollar development grant or fleshed out by one person who’s a ‘ conceptual designer’ but also a competent professional in engineering (of several kinds in this case), physics, city planning, and psychology. Thats not the way it works.

  • Baron Mercury says:

    There’s two things wrong with this “design”:
    1. It is not physically possible.
    2. It’s not his bloody Idea, clearly the man just read Transmetropolitan and copied the (wholly fictional) traffic lights of the future.

    • Keandre Espina says:

      actually a better but similar technology was already made in japan and it could project in 3D the only problem now is how to project it at a larger scale and the cost

    • Keandre Espina says:

      actually a better but similar technology was already made in japan and it could project in 3D the only problem now is how to project it at a larger scale and the cost

  • DG says:

    How about cross it and your license plate gets a photo.

  • riscy says:

    It is a wonderful idea, but laser is well established hazardous for anyone eye, if use at a powerful level.

    I propose using LED light beam might be safer than laser. The light intensity of LED is much less and less chance of blindness, especially if children is playing with the beam.

    One problem with this idea that it prone to abuse by children or other punks. Simple tape cover it up and cease to works correctly.

    It may be better to use over head system rather than side street bars or emitted from the road surface, so it out of reach.

    Good luck, I believe this is very good ides, far better than traffic light system.


  • Rix says:

    Fake pictures!

  • Dani2202 says:

    Uhhmmmmm… I think both people and car driver will be tempted to go trough it , crashing together!!

  • jiri says:


  • Anonymous says:

    There’s a word for people like Eric K: TROLL. Even if the idea lacks merit or viability, being an idea-bashing bully doesn’t change the idea. Doing so only proves you’re a troll, Eric K.

    Instead of bashing the idea, try offering helpful suggestions or alternatives.

    Those who offer constructive criticism of others advance society.
    Those who offer only abuse, destroy it.

    Below is a non-troll constructive criticism:

    The plasma/laser grid offers only a signal mechanism, consumes power continuously while lit, and cannot prevent people from driving right through. While admittedly not as “flashy” or “high-tech” in appearance, mechanical engineering should not be discarded. Try using a simple mechanical system that raises and lowers steel reinforced concrete barricades. The barricades would also help stop people from running red-lights, too. While this could prevent “right turn on red” for those places where it is legal, the increase in public safety would be well worth the 15-40 second wait for pedestrians to cross.

    Be helpful, or shut the fuck up.

  • SA Penguin says:

    OK, so the idea, As IT STANDS, is physically impossible. The question is- should I (or anyone else) spend time coming up with an alternative?

    That depends on the value you put on time, I suppose.

    For example, I’d suggest a series of micro-jets, spraying water UP and being swept by stroboscopic lights. Such a barrier is visible, yet penetrable by emergency vehicles- at the risk of getting wet.

  • JI says:

    Just out of curiosity, how big a problem is this anyway?

    The complete inability to implement this “design” notwithstanding – how many pedestrians are actually hit by drivers, at a crossing, when there’s a red light?

    And of those traffic collisions that do occur, how many would have reasonably been prevented by the proposed design?

    (For example, in cases of DUI or speeding vehicles, would such a system have been any more effective than standard traffic lights?)

    I haven’t researched these figures myself, which is why I’m asking – hey, maybe we need to take measures against the rising tide of motorists who are not capable of both checking traffic lights and not running over pedestrians.

    But until I see such evidence, I know I wouldn’t want to implement this, even if it were actually physically possible to do so.

  • Savant says:

    I wish we had such virtual bariers in our human relations
    can anybody make that also…

  • leo says:

    what happens when a large truck stops next to one of the projector poles and blocks the beam? Traffic chaos.

  • tty01 says:

    Impressive, but not possible. Traffic lights are managed by computers in large cities already. But if it would be cheaper to implement “Traffic Wall”…

  • ran says:

    What’s the power consumption required to make a plasma wall? As an electrical engineer I’d guess 100-10,000x a walk signal.

    Cool idea, but not very “green”, and probably very hard to see in bright sun.

    An old-fashioned railroad swing-arm gate would be cheaper, lower-power, and at least as effective, I’d think.

    • Lurtz says:

      Better save some lives then some energy men.

      • tester says:

        Better save some lives then time men. No driving should be allowed.
        (just following your logic, or the lack of it)

    • Kyran Cinflaria says:

      Research semi-perpetual energy on the web. Soon, energy consumption will be obsolete

  • ddartley says:

    So can motorists see the “pedestrians” BEFORE they arrive at the crosswalk?

    Does the light show only activate when people are entering it? Or is it on all the time?

    I think it would be most effective if it only activated when pedestrians are actually approaching and/or using the crosswalk, rather than being active all the time. If it’s on all the time, motorists might get desensitized to its presence.

    EXCELLENT IDEA, though, I think.

  • AndyL says:

    I’m amazed at the number of people who say “Keep an open mind” when discussing something that clearly will not work.

    Anyone can think “outside the box”. But doing so is not useful unless you can tie your dreams to some sort of reality.

    A throw-away mention of Keio University’s plasma laser display device does not make this idea possible. That technology does not work in this manner, and is not at all safe to deploy where someone might accidentally walk into the beams.

    Further, the people behind the plasma laser display device are true inventors, they thought outside the box, and THEN FIGURED OUT HOW TO MAKE THEIR IDEA A REALITY. Simply, coming up with crazy ideas, while important, is the easy part. Any six year old can do that.

  • AndyL says:

    On the other hand, If this technology existed, then it would be in use EVERYWHERE. Not just street crossings.

    You wouldn’t be able to walk down the street without seeing a zillion floating laser ads It’s not as though no one has invented the ability to project images in mid-air because they couldn’t think of a use for it.

  • tosika says:

    It is possible today. I have seen it in a doorway. Only it needs steam or fog for the laser to be visible on a bright day. we need to progress, and traffic lights are so old. Think about it…A rock still works fine as a hammer, but it didn’t stop somebody from inventing a new hammer. (P.S. and the hammer turned into a drill) But i do agree with some people. I DON’T want to see a trillion ads popping up in fornt of me while i sit at a red light.

  • nomis says:

    as initially appealing this idea it seems, its more distracting that helpful. Say, for example, someone can’t avoid hitting a red for whatever reason. The barrier obstructs the view and they can’t gauge where the pedestrians actually are. as much as rules are made to be followed, these kinds of mechanisms have to have some margin of safety for those who break them. and they will break them. regardless two layers (one for each side of the intersection) is going to reduce visibility to nothing and its going to irritate the pedestrians more than anything, especially if its that tall. Might be a better idea to put a mechanism in the car than on the road.

  • This is a nice idea and I think can be implemented in many countries. Though the first comment “…I’d like to go through it” cannot be easily done as when you will see this you’ll naturally stop.

    good idea and should be implemented

  • sdfsd says:

    Does it work on a clear sunny day?

  • Dan says:

    Funny… I had this idea a looooong time ago…. a virtual barrier that would appear at pedestrian cross walks. I didn’t anticipate the damaging beams tho… :p

  • val says:

    Impressive award list but do you ever try to build some simple model?
    Old school gay would be tested idea by laser pointer fir example
    Laser beam are virtually invisible you can see only objects illuminated by the beam
    (fog, smoke male laser beam visible)
    3D screens you see in youtube utilize light dispersing projection media (usually transparent foil) and work in twilight
    so the light wall is not virtual
    Second, accidental impact of laser beam into pedestrian eye may cause sight injury (very serious)

  • val says:

    is direct visualization of metaphor only
    Infesting question is how such designs kidding IF jury
    Share the secret people…

  • guaishi says:

    It is possible today. I have seen it in a doorway. Only it needs steam or fog for the laser to be visible on a bright day. we need to progress, and traffic lights are so old. Think about it…A rock still works fine as a hammer, but it didn’t stop somebody from inventing a new hammer. (P.S. and the hammer turned into a drill) But i do agree with some people. I DON’T want to see a trillion ads popping up in fornt of me while i sit at a red light.

  • IT Rush says:

    What the heck, you can’t really cross with that kind of wall blocking..

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  • jarick says:

    And as the researchers working on that technology make clear, “It is dangerous”.

    Not to mention how expensive such a system would be to install, operate, and maintain.

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