Desktop Transit Info Appliance

I’ve been playing around with using inexpensive internet devices as displays for transit arrival information, looking for something that will scale inexpensively. I’ve been having some fun with WiFi picture frames, but haven’t found one with quite the right features yet.

I’ve had slightly more success with a gadget called a ‘Chumby‘. Here’s mine sitting on my desk, next to my iPhone to give a sense of scale:


It actually uses an RSS Reader application as the display tool (I’ve prototyped delivering Transit Surfer™ as an Atom feed). It alternates between a minute displaying arrival times and 15 seconds displaying a clock (this is a hack to force the RSS Reader to re-load the feed). Here’s a software simulation of what’s on the screen (my Chumby is black, but they do come in colors):

The font size is a bit smaller than I’d like, but it’s still probably effective for someone like a receptionist who might want to give out bus or rail times to customers. But at $179 each, I don’t expect these to show up all over the place.

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