The bus stop. A mundane, unstylish, practical thing. And around here who takes the bus anyway? Over time various artists have undertaken projects to liven up the ordinary bus stop with paint or artistic designs. But now science has intervened and if you care about it, one day the ordinary bus stop could be as technically advanced as your smart phone.
Scientists and designers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have set about creating the bus stop of the future with features that challenge most people’s imagination.
The solar-powered bus stops or EyeStops as they’re affectionately known will be unveiled next year in Florence, Italy, a place where much bus riding takes place. Artistic renderings show two EyeStop designs. One being more like a flat plexiglass pole while the other is a plexiglass arch. Embedded in the material are touch-screen capabilities which could allow the visitor to check e-mail or surf the web, map out nearby businesses and check the bus schedule. No word on whether you can watch DVDs there.
But if you think a bus stop is just for transportation related purposes, the EyeStop can also monitor air quality. It can pinpoint the exact locations of buses. It could also be a guide to local commerce allowing electronic advertising and bulletins. You could also synchronize your favorite bus stop or pole with your smart phone so that the smart bus stop can tweet when your bus is late. It isn’t clear whether you will be able to tweet for the bus to wait if you’re late, however.
Such idealistic notions prompted negative thoughts about vandalism and graffiti. But designers have that covered. They have looked into the idea of self-cleaning surfaces. Presumably they will also have security cameras. If the stops pass the test, some day they could be on a street near you. In which case, if the stop is so much fun, who would want to bother taking the bus?
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