Summer 2020 phyTERNS PHERRY Project

Every summer PHYTEC invites a group of interns (whom we’ve lovingly nicknamed the phyTERNS) to our Bainbridge Island office. This group of college students work hands-on with our experienced hardware and software engineers on projects and conclude their internship by creating an application using a PHYTEC product. Even though this year may be a little different due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the phyTERNS pooled together their hardware, software, and mechanical skills to create a Ferry Tracking application using the phyCORE-i.MX6ULL SOM.

Meet the phyTERNS

Being that PHYTEC is located in the Pacific Northwest with an office in Seattle and Bainbridge Island, our employees do a lot of commuting back and forth by ferry.


If you have commuted by ferry, you know the pain of rushing to make the 5:35PM commuter boat. At PHYTEC, employees are always trying to squeeze in one last email, commit to git, or test before rushing out of the office to make the boat. Sometimes you have sprinted to the dock and make it right on time but see no boat at the dock… that is when you learn the scheduled has changed or that the boat is delayed.


This year our phyTERNs aimed to solve that problem for us by building a device they named “The PHERRY”. It is an easy to read, all-in-one look at the daily ferry schedule, real-time boat tracking, and some fun facts. This application is similar to the screens you see at an airport to let you know if your plane is on time.

How does the PHERRY do those things?

Here’s a quick overview of how the PHERRY technical details:

  • The application runs on Linux on the phyBOARD-Segin with the phyCORE-i.MX 6ULL SOM at the core. The phyTERNs added some additional hardware features such as a 7″ LVDS capacitive touch display, a green LED programmed to light up when the ferry is at the dock, and an easy access reset button.
  • The main software application was written with C++.  The app interacts with python scripts that webscrape and pull information from Washington State Department of Transportation website ( Additionally, the Qt framework was used to style and display the information.
  • WiFi functionality is also possible by a PHYTEC add-on WiFi module to improve the projects mobility.
  • System housing was designed and printed at the office with a 3D printer.


Learn More

We’re proud of the work our phyTERNs did and use this device at our PHYTEC Bainbridge office! All source code has been made available publicly ( and everything there is to know about how it works is now on We encourage you to take a look, and if you decide to make it yourself we’ve made everything purchasable through our website and Hackster. Bon Voyage!

Ready to get started?

Let’s go! Learn more about PHYTEC SOMs