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What is the bus face?

an equal mixture of facial gestures commonly correlated with despair, anger, and fear.


busface -- (pronounced: busface minus minus) is an interactive installation intended to break the busface. Its intended to engage users waiting at the bus stop in a fun way. The interaction allows users to interact with each other while not forcing them to talk to people they dont want to talk to.


location : bustop

target users : bus riders

daily traffic : 219,667


initial user research

Our initial user research consisted of Activity observation and Ethnographic interviews to understand the needs of the users in the target space.

"...I dunno. I just don't have a reason to talk to them."


Initial research

During the initial research, we visited the bus stops on Craig and Forbes and Fifth and Bieglow. Initially we looked at the space to get a better understanding of the space and to get a shared understanding of what we might be able to do. We tried to brainstorm at these bus stops to see how feasiable our ideas might be. During our subsequent visits to these sites we talked to a lot of commuters to understand their needs and to validate and refine our ideas. Once we had finished the initial research we started ideating and refining our initial ideas.

Home Ideation


armed with our user research we brainstormed 20 ideas and narrowed them down to 5.

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based on the feedback we got in class we narrowed down our ideas from twenty to the follwing 5 ideas :

unconventional signage
bus guitar
augmented reality stop
conversations with other stops
bike trip while you wait

and off we were to speed dating.

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Concept Validation.

Using speed dating we considered the merits and demerits of each of our 5 ideas. While the class voting had put unconventional signage as one of the more popular of the 5, talking to real users we found bus guitar to be a favourite.

unconventional signage augmented reality stop conversations with other stops bike trip while you wait bus guitar

and off we were to speed dating.

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Weird Signage

unconventional signage

During the initial brainstorm sessions with the class, this recieved a lot of votes. However while talking to the users we found that while most people thought it would be fun initially, it would get boring later on.

- might get old

Speed Dating Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

augmented reality

While people liked the idea of augmented reality, almost everyone wanted to be an observer to see things drawn on other people's heads.

+fun for observers
-awkward for sitters

Speed Dating Conversations



The idea for conversations was to allow people from one bus stop to communicate with people from another bus stop using a camera and kinetic typography. While users thought that it would be interesting to see others, they might not want to talk to complete strangers.

+Interesting to see others
-might not want to talk to them

Speed Dating Bike


bike trip

The idea behing bike trip is that there will be a bike at the bus stop accompanied by a touch screen that people can use to set a destination and start biking while they are waiting for the bus. The idea is to let them know that they might have reached their destination had they biked there. People loved this idea. They thought it was fun, but there were some concerns regarding hygine, and social deterrents.

+fun, would like to observe
-social deterrents

Speed Dating Bus Guitar

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bus guitar

While talking to users we realised that this excited them the most. It engaged them without forcing them to interact with each other.

+fun and engaging
- might get annoying

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Design 1

The strings are depicted by the use of the colored bands as shown in the picture. These allow users to play cords.

Our final design consisted of the following key features:
* Strumming and plucking of strings
* Placement of strings
* Activity detection
* Timing
Strumming and plucking of strings can take place in two ways, one when a vehicle drives by which causes strumming and two by jumping, which causes an individual pluck.
Placement of strings was carefully chosen. We wanted to arrange the strings in a way that it made sense for the vehicles driving by to make the strumming noise. hence the strings seem to flow out of the bus stop with the bus stop essentially serving as the head of the guitar.
Activity Detection
To detect the presence of people on the strings we intend to use floor sensors to detect where they are standing and also to detect the jumping motion required for plucking. For the vehicles we intend to use computer vision to not only detect the presence of vehicles but also detect type of vehicles to be able to pluck with different octaves.
Timing, to avoid being annoying and to introduce an element of serendipity, the bus guitar will not always be on. It would turn on everyone once in a while and then turn itself off after a while.


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