Here's a bike shock system than can be controlled -- soft or rough.
Jason Brack and his fellow Colorado State engineering students, David Dang and Broc SommerMeyer, created a magnetorheological (MR) bicycle shock absorber that can be adjusted using a touchscreen to affect the bike’s ride. The MR fluid reacts to a magnetic field. In this case, the viscosity can be increased or decreased to change the dampening rate of the shock absorber. Using the touchscreen display, the user can select the ride quality of the bike.
Here is the touchscreen mounted on the bicycle.
The ride selection screen helps you pick your ride quality.
This is a nice gfadget, but I would have used a different user interface. I would be nervous about the screen on the side of the bike. A blue tooth connection to a cell phone app would be more appropriate.
naperlou, I agree. Its a very nice device but the TFT screen being exposed on the side of the bike allows it to be damaged quite easily. The screen could have been mounted on the handle bars and using a wireless connection, such as BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) the controller can communicate with the mechanics (MR shocks). Still an impressive device.
Rob I'm noticing a stream of Colorado State University engineering students developing some really cool and innovative gadgets. This is the second bike gadget I've seen from the university where the first one was a Smart Bike Shifter (Gadget Freak Case #205). I assume biking must be big in Colorado, based on the bike submission projects, along with skiing. Cool Gadget!!
Yes, biking is big in Colorado, especially in this age group. And yes, we are seeing a string of projects from Colorado State. That goes back six or seven years. What I'd like to see is a string of your students, MrDon.
Thanks for the comments. We wanted to control this with a cell phone, but decided it might be beyond our abilities. This was pretty much our first experience with control systems and we wanted to make sure we didn't get in over our heads.
Rob, I'm still working on the sales pitch of the benefits that come with submitting projects to the magazine. Some of the students are interested but trying to put this project into their busy schedule.
Jason, You guys did a great job on the bike project. I do understand about being over your head when developing products. I tell me students not to get caught up in the tech glitz -glamour of the project but focus on the team's capabilities to accomplish the individual tasks required to complete the final product. Very nice work!!!
This is a way cool gadget. It's a lot more sophisticated than any of my projects. I'm sure this is just a prototype to demonstrate the concept, instead of a finished product. Otherwise, the control panel would be in a much more convenient place.
Another thing: Will the iron particles in the shock oil not eventyally grind down the metal parts? I've heard of this technique before in a clutch used in an automobile AC system. Also, how much power does this thing use? A big battery or generator would slow you down a bit, wouldn't it?
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.