How to help your city by waiting for the bus

As a frequent user of buses as a medium of transport, I know from first hand experience that the time spent waiting for a bus can get really boring and useless. That’s why I’m very excited about this idea researchers in a University of Finland have come up with.

They decided to place a few touchscreen at a bus stop, with a button saying ‘Touch Me’ to attract users. This would allow them to access a system of activities that could be carried out to contribute to public services. The main activity was to detect blood cells infected with malaria to train detection software. The results were quite satisfying: they found out that this method was as relatively accurate as those made by paid workers.

Other possible activities could include users adding information of the nearby areas (which is the best park to take your children o, where to walk your dog, cleared signs…) that could help people make the most of their city.

Also, they might add games to this system. The most prosper one is the so-called Game of Words, where users describe their view of the city in one word. Then, other users can vote on the words they think work the best, therefore creating a dictionary of the area.

This project is not only useful and entertaining, it also helps analyze the behaviour of people in groups or alone, and how they react t certain tasks. The best part, though, is the fact that it shows how altruistic human beings can be.