This isn’t immediately applicable to the products or goings on around here at TigerDirect.com, but it’s so cool that I had to mention it.

The Japanese now have roads that play music when you drive over them. A (brilliant) team from Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute have built several segments of road that utilize grooves cut in the surface to evoke a tune.

The idea is the brainchild of Shizuo Shinoda, who discovered that grooves scraped into the road make different sounds when a vehicle drives over them. By altering the depth and distance between the grooves, savvy designers can make “music” play when a car drive over them at the correct speed.

This doesn’t work if the car is going to fast or too slow. It also requires that the windows of the car be up, so that the acoustics are perfect. Colored musical notes painted on the road inform drivers of what is about to happen. Most of these “songs” last only 30 seconds.

Other impressive innovations unveiled by the Sapporo-based institute include infrared lights that detect dangerous road surfaces.