Buzzing Bluetooth Bus Band Will Tell You When Your Stop is Close

By Gerald Lynch on at

While we've got apps to tell us when our bus is due, and the Google Now service capable of firing off an alarm when a requested bus stop is close, it can still be hard for disabled passengers to get the travel information they need. After all, a smartphone may be too expensive for some users and impractical for blind passengers.

17-year old Nottingham student Daria Buszta may have a clever solution. The Bilborough College pupil has devised an inexpensive Bluetooth wristband that syncs up with a bus driver's ticket machine. A passenger sets a destination and, when the bus is approaching the designated stop, the band vibrates on the passenger's wrist, giving those that can't see their surroundings a physical prompt to an upcoming stop and those who find it difficult to move quickly enough time to head towards an exit.

Part of the government's Accessible Britain Challenge, the band was the winning entry in the All Aboard competition, tasking students to come up with public transport improvement ideas that could aid disabled bus passengers.

"Disabled people have the same rights as anyone else to access public transport, but there remain obstacles," said competition judge and Transport Minister Baroness Kramer.

"Daria came up with a very simple answer to a complicated problem. Her design was discrete, cost effective and has huge potential. This isn’t just an idea that will stay on paper. It will get serious backing and will hopefully start changing people’s lives in the not too distant future."

Daira, the second teenage design whizz from the UK to make headlines this week, was suitably chuffed by the win:

"I wasn’t expecting to win, but I’m excited that my idea will be made into a real working product. I’m so glad it will help so many people feel comfortable and independent on public transport."

The project will now move onto a prototyping stage, with Daria working with local businesses to see the wristband potentially become a working product. Funding from the £100,000 Transport Systems Catapult innovation centre will also be used in the development.

The band come shot on the heels of the Wayfindr Bluetooth beacon system, which similarly is being developed to help blind travellers navigate London's Underground system. []

Image Credit: London Routemaster Bus from Shutterstock