Sydney has become the world's first city to install electronic ink traffic signs, where they'll be used to display real-time information to drivers during special events. The signs are the result of a partnership between the Australian Roads and Maritime Services and Slovenian technology firm Visionect. Each sign is connected to central government authority servers via 3G so that they can be updated over-the-air at any time.

"The hardware components are managed by server software programmed to 'wake up' the sign for certain pre-scheduled windows of time when the content on the sign will be changed using 3G technology," says Rok Zalar, Visionect's head of product development.

Like a Kindle, the signs are easy to read in Sydney's bright sunshine. They're illuminated at night and are 100 percent self-sustainable, with solar panels supplying the tiny amount of electricity required to change the signs. Visionect says the displays use zero electricity when static and don't malfunction in the sun's heat or during a power outage.

The tech company cites statistics showing that the city of Los Angeles puts up 558,000 temporary parking restrictions signs every year to the cost of $9.5 million - expenditure Visionect claims could be easily reduced using customizable E Ink displays.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said that 15 of the new signs were successfully trialed in the management of traffic in the Sydney central business district, and that a second rollout has since been completed.