I figured that the best way for me to get my parking meter/lamp project off the ground was to take the device into work and turn the engineers loose on it.  Well, presenting a roomful of engineers with an interesting problem is like throwing a bunch of porn magazines into a frathouse.  The response is immediate and intense.  The engineers rushed to the whiteboard and attacked the problem like ducks on junebugs.

The ensueing melee' was entertaining.  I witnessed behavior normally only seen in four-year-olds; for example, one trying to erase part of the others schematic diagrams and one trying to take the marker out of the other's hand.  It was as if bad ideas would endanger the safety of the universe and had to be prevented.  There were instances of "listen to me – just listen for a minute!".  I worried that things could get ugly.

In the end, there were two competing ideas and when a third guy showed up later, there ended up being yet another idea.  This is probably why important innovations are usually developed by guys working alone.  Electrical components were brought into the office on the following day and it was time for the big electronic circuit smackdown.  They just happened to have all this stuff laying around their homes. 
It turns out that of the two ideas presented, none of them worked.  The third remains untested.  

I'm not sure if this was a good idea or not.