Hey buddy, got MIRT?

Hacking the red lights.


MIRT is acro-speak for Mobile Infrared Transmitter. In everyday parlance, it is usually in reference to the transmitters that hide behind the grilles of ambulances and fire trucks and flip properly equipped traffic lights from red to green when the vehicle in question approaches. You may have seen these traffic lights - most cities have them at major intersections and along the main drags - you can spot them by the small grey dongle that hangs beside the actual traffic light head.

Of course, any tech can be hacked (see: Windows) and this is no exception. Some enterprising sorts have come up with homebrew plans to build your own MIRT for about 20 bucks.

Now - you MIGHT be playing with fire here. Our pal G.W. Bush signed a bill this week making it illegal to use one of these in a moving vehicle in the U.S. of A. However, there is no such matching provision in Canada, so north of the border you are pretty much in the clear. Additionally, since state laws (where they exist) and federal laws are contradictory here, you might be able to "fight the power" on this. Then again, maybe not.

But if you want to take the plunge ... traffic lights are now yours to command. Warp 6, Mr. Crusher ... Engage.

Posted: Fri - August 12, 2005 at 10:09 AM