One of the banes of city living is traffic. But for the traffic signals, the traffic would be chaotic leading to accidents, jams, and even deaths. But, did you ever wonder how do these traffic signals work? Despite the traffic, how do these traffic signals work collaboratively and in tandem with each other, even though they are inanimate objects? Well, the answer lies in the controller that is present within each and every traffic signal. Let’s see how these traffic signal controllers work.

A traffic signal primarily comprises a traffic signal controller, vehicle detector, traffic signal lanterns or lights, posts, pedestrian push buttons and underground electrical wiring to connect all these different aspects with each other.

In this entire gamut of components, the traffic controller is considered to be the ‘brains’ behind the entire operation. The controller primarily houses a computer that detects, analyzes and processes the information that it receives from its detector and push buttons and changes the traffic light accordingly. Depending on the traffic demands in the city, a traffic signal controller usually determines how long the green signal stays on for each phase or traffic movement. It also controls the transition from a green signal to a red signal. Traffic signal controllers are also one of the most versatile gadgets. They can operate in a stand-alone manner and can also be programmed to collaborate and coordinate with other traffic signals.

The traffic controller works on two different methodologies. These are:

Fixed Time

Many traffic controllers are often programmed to follow the fixed time operation. In this operation, the controller enables the traffic signal to show green for the same amount of time, irrespective of the traffic. While the fixed operation works wonderfully in a heavily congested road, it is not used optimally in places where there is very little traffic. In an area where there is very little traffic, a fixed time phase is often considered to be useless, as then the traffic signal can be programmed to follow other effective operation methods.

Vehicle Actuation

One of the most commonly used operations methods is the vehicle actuation operation. In this operation, the traffic signal controller detects and takes in to account the vehicle demands on all roads and enables the traffic signal to show green.

The traffic signal controller detects the vehicle demands through detection units that are installed over the signal heads or on the carriageway. It then analyzes and processes the information and allocates the right amount of time that a green signal should stay on or the right amount of time the red should stay on for each and every road. Here, you should remember that the controller is already programmed with the minimum and maximum times the green should be on and this cannot be changed. How this works you might ask? Well, the traffic signal controller detects the number of cars that pass through its detector and depending on the traffic and the information it receives from the grid, it turns the green signal on. In this case, any car that will pass through will extend the time of the signal.

The traffic signal controller’s job doesn’t seem as easy as it looks. Other than, keeping a close watch on the current traffic (vehicle and pedestrian), the traffic signal also has to consider all the information it receives from the traffic signal network to ensure a smooth flow of traffic in the city.

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Cortana for Xbox One Finally Released: Your Personal Gaming Assistant

Lucky summers for Xbox One users as they will be getting one of the much-awaited updates from Microsoft, the Cortana is about to be rolled out.
For those who have no idea what Cortana is, well, it is a Microsoft’s virtual assistant which lets you communicate with your device like "Siri" on Apple iOS and "Google Now Assistant" for Android. You can talk to your device by saying “Hey Cortana” and you can then give all the instructions through voice.

The purpose of launching Cortana is to integrate Windows 10 and the Xbox console. Though initially the update will not be available for Windows 10 but at a later stage, you will be able to use it with Xbox app on Windows 10.

Xbox Cortana

What to Expect

So how Cortana will change your gaming experience? How can it be of any help? Is it really a much needed feature?

Cortana is referred to as the ‘personal gaming assistant’. It will assist you in gaming, of course, but this is just the beginning. Right now, you will be able to use Cortana for gaming features only but in near future, it will work with other devices and will include a whole lot of other exciting features.

Cortana lets you communicate with your console over voice. It can let you find new games, turn on the Xbox, you can start a party, and you can perform several other tasks. You can also use it to search stuff on Bing, simply give a voice instruction to search something and voila, you are done.

The good news is that there are multiple updates that will be rolled out so you will see some nice changes this summer, for example, a new game collection will be rolled out, improvements in screenshot sharing feature, some of the famous PC games will be added to your Xbox live, and much more.

This is just the beginning. Microsoft is very enthusiastic about the update and it has already announced that Cortana is not limited to gaming only, so you should expect some good new features being added in recent times.

When and Where

Microsoft will be rolling the updates in phases – not all at once, thus you have to exhibit some patience. The first update will be rolled out this summer. You will get two updates this summer and more updates will follow soon.

At this moment, the Cortana will be available to Preview testers only. No, not to all the Preview testers but only those located in the US, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. If you are in one of these countries, consider yourself lucky as you will be among the first ones who will have the privilege to try the new update.

Keep your fingers crossed for the update and let’s hope that the update proves to be good for the gamers. The basic purpose behind the launch of the Cortana and these updates is to integrate Xbox One fully with Windows app (the PC). Once it is done, you will experience gaming of another level.
But that’s not going to happen right away.

For now, just sit back, relax and let Microsoft do all the hard work. Wait for the update to reach you.

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