The Classic - Cycle Oregon

A quick recap of ‘BikeBotics’ session at Barcamp

Posted by on October 25th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

— Publisher’s Note: This post is by our Bike Science columnist Shawn Small. We’ll publish short bits from him on Page Two in between his more in-depth columns that run on the Front Page.

The most feasible idea that we rolled around was the idea of incorporating a proximity sensor into a rear taillight.

This weekend I nerded down at Barcamp Portland and saw a lot of fellow nerds on bikes or with bike gear and thought I should finally do a BikeBotics session.

What is BikeBotics? I describe it as a merging of smartphones, gps, heart rate monitors, power, hacking, and bikes!

A few topics we discussed were:

  • Velosynth – an open-source bicycle interaction synthesizer
  • Shimano Di2, a bunch of futaba servos?
  • gps devices vs smart phones
  • user interactions of lights and vehicles – turn signals
  • data data data
  • augmented reality glasses
  • how to put wireless transmitters in the frame for auto-tweeting/SMS’ing location to track down theft
  • RFID tags into bike parts for easy identification
  • HUD glasses to display information

There were a lot of interested participants that brought a lot of great expertise and ideas to the session.

The most feasible idea that we rolled around was the idea of incorporating a proximity sensor into a rear taillight. The idea is that it would detect an object that is moving quickly behind you and it would change the flashing pattern to get their attention. Have it go from a normal blinking pattern to a “DON”T HIT ME!@$@!” pattern.

I am playing with the idea of turning it into a local meet-up group, if interested email me at shawn(at) Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at BikeBotics for a future Bike Science column.


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  • Alistair October 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I’d like my bike frame to come wired with an internal wiring harness for distributing power and data with 3 or 4 micro USB access points. Makes it easy to add lights, sensors, control and have a single power source for it all. (in the frame too is fine)

    Also love the rear light proximity detector.

    Cheers, Alistair

    P.S. as you may know the Busch & Müller DIWA dynamo system senses when the bike slows down quickly and uses the tailight as a brake light. at night it glow brighter just like car brake lights, in the day it will switch the light on as you slow.

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  • Shawn Small October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    @Alistair you and I are on the same page
    i have dream to create a full wired up bike like you describe and have a main computer (arduino/pic/etc) controlling it all!

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