John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
But can it aerate jaywalkers with retractable butt guns?
Here's a traffic signal with a much more inspiring message than "Walk": It wants you to fly, fly! across the street on the power of your flaming foot jets.
Yes, that boldly striding green figure is Astro Boy, the iconic manga character created in the 1950s by Osamu Tezuka. And yes, it is real and hanging in a southwest ward of Yokohama. Consider it one more indication that all Japan's traffic will one day be controlled by robots (including these creepy, flag-waving automatons).
The excellent culture blog Spoon & Tamago gives these details:
In an attempt to promote their robotic industries and rebrand as “Robot Town,” the district of Sagami in Kanagawa prefecture has created a pedestrian traffic light in the likeness of Astro Boy....
The city even turned it into a scavenger hunt by intentionally hiding the location and encouraging residents and visitors to try and find the Astro Boy traffic light. The location has already been leaked thanks to a newspaper that mistakenly revealed the location in their headline.
No word yet if the traffic signal will aerate jay walkers with its retractable butt guns.