A new LED semaphore brain-teaser is being projected atop Adobe’s San Jose Almaden Tower headquarters, and you can win free Adobe software for solving it, though it is unlikely to be solved for many years.
When you hear the word “semaphore,” you may think of some trendy news startup founded by former BuzzFeed people. But the term “semaphore” actually describes an alphabetic code system for sending secret messages. And in 2001, the Adobe headquarters in San Jose has been the canvas for a projected piece of public art known as the San Jose Semaphore, which has also transmitted secret messages, and made a contest for who could solve it.
It’s not easy to solve! The first one took five years for anyone to solve (it was the text of the 1966 Thomas Pynchon novel The Crying of Lot 49), the second took four-and-a-half years to solve (it was astronaut Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” speech). But the Bay Area News Group reports there’s a new semaphore puzzle on the Adobe headquarters building, now at the newer Almaden Tower building at 151 South Almaden Boulevard.
Video of this new puzzle can be seen above. And in a added wrinkle, the transmission patter gets scrambled by the sound of planes flying overhead, a phenomenon you can see at the :50 mark of the above video.
“A new code started transmission at the top of Adobe’s Almaden Tower on May 11, 2023,” Adobe says in a press release. “The message’s content and the encryption technique used are a mystery open to all to solve. The first person or team to crack the code will be awarded bragging rights and a two-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.”
For those of you playing at home, there is a live simulcast of the semaphore at the bottom of that linked page, which plays the projections live, seasoned with some robot music and voices uttering the numbers and codes.
Image via Adobe