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A Hacked WiFi Router, an API, and a Toy Bus: It's the Ambient Bus Arrival Monito 53

JohnGrahamCumming writes "In this simple project, a hacked Linksys WRT54GL talks to a public API to get real-time bus information, and displays the times of the next buses on a model bus. Never miss the bus again! 'It's possible to reflash the Linksys with a custom Linux installation that lets me control the box completely (and still use it as a wireless router). There are various project, but I used OpenWRT. With OpenWRT it's possible to SSH into the box and treat it as any Linux server (albeit a rather slow one). But there's plenty of power to grab bus times and update an LED display connected to the WRT54GL's serial port. "
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A Hacked WiFi Router, an API, and a Toy Bus: It's the Ambient Bus Arrival Monitor

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:53PM (#39419751)
    You can only unlock the Achievement "I Put My Toaster On the Internet!" if it's using Arduino. Sorry man.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I did put my toaster on the internet - but now some guy in Finland keeps on burning my toast :(

    • You can only unlock the Achievement "I Put My Toaster On the Internet!" if it's using Arduino. Sorry man.

      My toaster works fine and it's running Win 95 on a 486sx.
      Say, does this sourdough taste exploited to you?

  • You mean it can run linux?
  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:08PM (#39419969)

    The San Francisco Muni already has NextBus [] powered LED displays at bus stops that show arrival time of the next few buses - they should package them up like this and sell them to transit riders as a quick and easy way to see the arrival time of the next bus at their stop. Much more convenient to look at the bus-shaped sign by the door to see that I have 2 minutes 'till the next bus than to pull out my phone, unlock it, and load up the app.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      filing a patent that puts this guy's tech into a standard wall clock. happy now?

      that'll be $49.95 plus shipping.

      $59.95 for the harder-to-read binary version.

      $79.95 for the version that automatically shares on facebook the time you left your house for which bus number, along with stated destination and links to the profiles of facially-recognized facebook members seen leaving the house with you. add an additional $19.95 for the clock to automatically post pictures of you looking at said clock before
  • FYI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:11PM (#39419995)

    In the 80s the Toronto bus system had a phone number on every stop. You dialed that, and got a quick automated voice telling you the next three bus's times of arrival. ETA was based on pickups across the city, so was very accurate.

    So yeah, pick up the phone and hit speedial every morning and I knew exactly if I wanted a brisk or slow walk out the door. Absolutely great system.

    • Re:FYI (Score:5, Funny)

      by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @07:03PM (#39420593)

      The Victoria bus system is based on a "fuck you, we show up when we want... and fuck you" system.

    • Ottawa and I know Vancouver now track buses via GPS. Ottawa's uses a text-message system with estimated times, while Vancouver actually updates locations on a map every 2 minutes. I prefer the Vancouver option--knowing how far away my bus is, I can much better guess when I've passed the point of no return and take my time getting to the stop for the next bus. The text option though is more accessible, i.e. better for people without smartphones.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Countries with a real investment in public transport have these at most bus stops.

    • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:45PM (#39420375)

      Countries with a real investment in public transport have these at most bus stops.

      You exaggerate with "most", but they do exist at many stops in London. 2,500 according to the TfL website, out of 19,500 bus stops (!) used by 700 routes.

      The interesting bit here is
      1) The information is also on the web.
      2) There's an API so people can access the data and use it themselves
      3) He put it in a model bus

      • by KingJ ( 992358 )
        Electronic screens are at most major bus stops, however the data is available for any bus stop via the web. The mobile interface even has a nice little geolocation feature. It works pretty well.
    • Indeed, in the US anyone who wants to invest in public transit is run out of town as a communist.
    • by joaommp ( 685612 )

      In Portugal you can just text a specific number and you know how long it will take the few next buses to arrive.

  • Any tiny Linux box would work - here he's just using the 54G for the OS.

    • it's got wifi, serial, the OS and it was probably lying around his house somewhere going spare so it was free. you can get that router off of ebay for less than an ethernet shield for your arduino, and the router's got wifi too!
    • here he's just using the 54G for the OS.

      And the built-in wifi, and the serial port, and the fact that the hardware costs $15 on craigslist. :)

  • I hope PopFile isn't suffering from this diversionary hack!

  • Seattle/King County Metro has their ride information available so an app was written with multiple interfaces that allows riders to see real-time arrival and departure information. I love it and use it all the time when I ride. []
  • We have a toll free line, and every stop has a "Stop number". You punch that in and get the next three stops. But the best tool IMO is the STM (Société de Transport de Montréal) site, which, although doing what Google also does, does it with more precision. [] Pretty cool to factor in holidays

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