Tinker Project

Alright mech heads, I need some brainstorming. I’m mostly a computer nerd, and don’t know too much about other disciplines, and I have an idea I would like to do, perhaps for a senior project at college (which is not too far). This is more of a cycling thing than unicycling, and even more of an engineering thing than anything else, but hey, I know lots of you like to tinker. If you know a better place I can ask this, please pass on the information.

On to the idea. I like video games. I like (uni)cycling. I’ve seen some pretty crummy pre-1980’s style graphics video games connected to exercise bikes, and I’d like to make a 2003-graphics-style video game connected to a bike, or unicycle, or pogo-stick, or whatever. We’ll start with the bike. The ultimate in my mind would be to have something along the lines of a bicycle trainer (which increases resistance with speed) with proper electronics to connect to the computer. This trainer would also have settings for hills. And these settings could be controlled by an external computer (or simple electronic input). Now I understand that this kind of thing probably does not exist out of the box, but I’d like to make it. I can make the software stuff relatively easily. And I could probably figure out the electronics to measure RPM, perhaps even send control signals to the trainer. But the trainer is where I come to a halt.

This is where I most need help right now… I need to think of some way to build the trainer I described, unless it already exists. I would like to keep it simple enough that no welding would be necessary, but ideas that require such are of course welcome. Anything available at a hardware store or radio shack is fair game too. And I wouldn’t mind using a simple (non-electronic) trainer as a base.

Of course, it would be pretty cool to find an exercise bike with a computer interface (input AND output).

Ok, I’d like to make at least 10 cents off of this, so everyone start throwing in their 2 cents!

Fancy computerized video game like bicycle trainers already exist. They have fancy graphics, training modes, the works. I’ve seen them advertised in the cycling magazines. Look through cycling rags like Velo News.

Two of them are:
CompuTrainer
Tacx Virtual Reality Trainer
Tacx I-Trainer

It looks like the trainer (the part that hooks up to the bike) used in the Tacx unit has the computer cable connections that I assume measure speed and other variables.

Cool, thanks John. Those are exactly what I’m looking for, but I’d like to find one with an SDK so I can make my own games for it… I didn’t see anything on those pages that indicated such capability. I’ll email the companies to see if they would be willing to do so. In the meantime, have you seen such devices with an SDK?

I can see it now, “come over to my house, we’re having a stationary bike LAN race through the virtual Alps tonight.” Sweet!

Daniel

Yep, that’s one possibility. Even internet racing. My original idea was more sci-fi landscapes and surreal courses. Like a roller coaster on Callisto. And a bike wouldn’t always be the vehicle… you could perhaps pilot a human-powered plane or submarine… whatever.

No. I’ve only seen the advertisements for them and never any detailed specs or any info on being able to write your own modules or programs for them.

Re: Tinker Project

Excellent idea, yet it does already exists, see:

http://www.computrainer.com/pro3d.asp

How would you adapt this concept to a unicycle?

Jocelyn

“tron” <tron.qndyy@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
news:tron.qndyy@timelimit.unicyclist.com
>
> Alright mech heads, I need some brainstorming. I’m mostly a computer
> nerd, and don’t know too much about other disciplines, and I have an
> idea I would like to do, perhaps for a senior project at college (which
> is not too far). This is more of a cycling thing than unicycling, and
> even more of an engineering thing than anything else, but hey, I know
> lots of you like to tinker. If you know a better place I can ask this,
> please pass on the information.
>
> On to the idea. I like video games. I like (uni)cycling. I’ve seen
> some pretty crummy pre-1980’s style graphics video games connected to
> exercise bikes, and I’d like to make a 2003-graphics-style video game
> connected to a bike, or unicycle, or pogo-stick, or whatever. We’ll
> start with the bike. The ultimate in my mind would be to have something
> along the lines of a bicycle trainer (which increases resistance with
> speed) with proper electronics to connect to the computer. This trainer
> would also have settings for hills. And these settings could be
> controlled by an external computer (or simple electronic input). Now I
> understand that this kind of thing probably does not exist out of the
> box, but I’d like to make it. I can make the software stuff relatively
> easily. And I could probably figure out the electronics to measure RPM,
> perhaps even send control signals to the trainer. But the trainer is
> where I come to a halt.
>
> This is where I most need help right now… I need to think of some way
> to build the trainer I described, unless it already exists. I would
> like to keep it simple enough that no welding would be necessary, but
> ideas that require such are of course welcome. Anything available at a
> hardware store or radio shack is fair game too. And I wouldn’t mind
> using a simple (non-electronic) trainer as a base.
>
> Of course, it would be pretty cool to find an exercise bike with a
> computer interface (input AND output).
>
> Ok, I’d like to make at least 10 cents off of this, so everyone start
> throwing in their 2 cents!
>
>
> –
> tron - -= J. Alan Atherton =-
>
> - J. Alan Atherton
> Just my 10 bytes.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> tron’s Profile: http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/405
> View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/26737
>

variable cranks

and from the same URL there is also yet another mechanism
for variable cranks
http://www.computrainer.com/varicrank.asp

bear