Bus-Tops: Interactive art on roofs

Craft & Design

Here’s a neat physical computing project coming to London. The Bus-Tops project is planning to install around 40 LED screens on the tops of bus stations around the city, and is inviting the public to develop content to put on them. Since the screens will be on the roof, they will only be visible from double-decker buses and from buildings.

I like that they are taking advantage of their two-level transportation system. Think it will encourage more people to use it, or is that not an issue in the UK? Either way, it looks like fun, and way cooler then just putting some ads up there. [thanks Dale!]

10 thoughts on “Bus-Tops: Interactive art on roofs

  1. SelfSilent says:

    This is just artistic nonsense. You can use as many arty words as you like but the fact of the matter is that this will only get used for more advertising. A waste of time and money, they get vandalised, covered in graffiti, never get cleaned, stolen or burnt.

    More light pollution anyone?

    1. Alfie Dennen says:

      Thanks for the post Matt, encouraging people to take buses is definitely part of the project.

      Selfsilent, I completely appreciate your criticisms, as they are the most common ones levied and I’d like to answer them as best I can:

      “will only get used for more advertising”

      Luckily this will never ever happen. This is an Arts Council funded project and it will be against our terms and conditions for any commercial messaging to be broadcast. Coupled with this is the fact that *only* the work that the community votes up actually gets onto the canvas, at least theoretically guaranteeing a high level of work

      “..they get vandalised, covered in graffiti, never get cleaned, stolen or burnt.”

      The UCD prototyping process we are now embarking on will be geared towards not only defining an aesthetic for the project but also to ensuring that vandalism is extremely difficult to effect. We have lessons already learned by TFL in placing thousands of solar panels on the roofs of shelters. In our budgeting we have maintenance contracts in place for the cleaning and smooth running of all canvases as well as contingency for theft. Returning to our design process, we will be aiming to make the installations as holistically bound to the existing structures as possible, making them extremely hard to steal.

      “More light pollution anyone?”

      This is one of the core reasons we are working with LED’s: their voltage metered output means that we can ensure that light pollution is essentially nil, and their low power consumption ensures a small energy footprint (that said, we are already within the already allocated energy wattage at each powered shelter).

      I hope this helps in your concerns. If you check out the main site you will see that through the entire development process we have posted absolutely all of this information and reams more so people can see the care we are taking in the project’s realisation.



      1. s. says:

        Absolutely horrible video. A minute of talking heads and panoramas of the city and a total of FOUR SECONDS of footage of the actual subject.
        Plus one second of an inactive one.

        1. Alfie says:

          The reason there is so little of the actual objects is that *they don’t exist yet!*. Check out the main site at http://bus-tops.com for more visual stuff.

          1. Matt Mets says:

            Hi Alfie, thanks for chiming in defense of your project. I think it’s an excellent idea, I wish I could come play with it!

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