Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 18th, 2010 at 12:13 pm
-Watch video below-
Northeast Portland resident Michael Felix has just launched a project called Velosynth, an “open-source bicycle interaction synthesizer.” Or, in other words, it’s “a small computer that you attach to your bicycle that interprets your motion into sound.”
With mobile sound systems flourishing on bikes throughout the city (you’ve likely heard and seen one of them on Pedalpalooza rides like Bowie vs. Prince or Splash Dance), Felix’s Velosynth looks to fill a different niche than simply playing loud music.
In a note he sent us about the project, Felix said he wants to use audio as a bicycle computer interface instead of relying on a visual display. “After all, shouldn’t you be paying attention to the ride and not staring at a screen?”
In addition, he says that the Velosynth could be used as a communication tool between people on bikes and others on the road. “It’s like a bike-bell, except fully programmable.”
So, how does it work? Here’s a visual:
And if you’re more a word-based learner, here’s an explanation:
a hall-effect sensor attached to the fork detects the presence of a magnet fixed to a spoke of the front wheel. a three-axis accelerometer within the enclosure can be used to detect turning, leaning, and tilting. sensor data is collected and transmogrified by the cpu, which provides both audio and visual feedback.
audio feedback is created using a digital oscillator circuit that is controlled by a digital potentiometer connected to the cpu. its output is amplified and sent to the speaker.
visual feedback is negotiated through a 4-digit, 7-segment display that shines through the skin of the enclosure. additional LEDs can also be added and controlled by the CPU.
And here’s what you can do with it:
The project is just getting off the ground. So far, Felix has built 10 kits and he’s looking for “hacker-savvy cyclists” who can help take the idea to the next level. On that note, he’s also set up a Kickstarter page to raise awareness of the project. Felix is principal in the company Effalo.
Check out the video of the Velosynth below:
The Velosynth was developed by EFFALO, a research and design collaborative with its headquarters in Portland.
In related news, a few local riders have tweaked their sound systems to create a mobile Pirate Radio Station at 88.1 FM. It will be in action tonight at the dual Dropout Bike Club/Prom Ride event.