Nook E-Ink Bus Time Display

A little project over the 2023/24 Christmas break involved putting back into use an old Barnes and Noble Nook that had been sitting in a drawer for years. The goal was to display when buses will be arriving at the bus stop at the top of our road using the excellent TfL bus API. I was also keen to include some info on weather - ideally I wanted to show the likelyhood of rain that day - useful when you are cycling to work.

The project involved several steps that I kept coming back to over the course of a month - but it broke down to the following:

  • working out how to open up the nook so that I could work out the device type
  • working out how / if I could root the nook so that I could display my own content
  • working out how to display a web page as a proxy for content display
  • working out how to install it as a display near my front door

The initial searching around trying to work out approaches to do this took a while but then I came across this project by Edent which was really helpful in working out how to get everything working: - I recommend following his notes on:

Note - to install the launcher and electric sign you connect to the nook via USB and run commands similar to these:

adb install com.gacode.relaunchx_200106000.apk
adb install Electric Sign_1.0.3_Apkpure.apk

(as a note to self I had to setup Android Studio on my home mac to do this)

This gives you a Nook that you can then work with to display html content - the last step was generating and hosting the web content to display.

Given that I had a Raspberry Pi running at home that was already serving a webpage on my local network I opted to serve the page from the same device. The end result was:

  • A Python script runs from crontab once per minute to generate a webpage -
  • The Nook is on the same network as the RPi serving the webpage
  • The Nook calls this html page and uses “electic sign” to save as screensaver (I pointed the screensaver in Nook settings to use Electric Sign)
  • Electric Sign is set to update once a minute
  • The script queries the bus stops API once per minute to get updates - I found my bus stop id using this page - hint, click on bus stop and then get “station information”.
  • I request weather data once an hour to reduce api calls to
  • I bought a cheap picture frame, removed glass, created cardboard surround, cut notch for cable and taped it all together (battery life not quite good enough for the number of updates I was wanting - once per minute - hence had to power the device)

Code for the project is on GitHub

Photos for the project are on Flickr:

Nook Project