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.
Rob, Another reason for my students to submit their projects to the magazine. Gadget Freak provides hands-on, real world experience for the students base on their submitted designs to the magazine. Yes, it does provide a nice item to include on their resumes.
You're correct that this is just a concept. The power requirements are probably the main hangup, because we needed around 10 amps to get a good response.
The iron particles are 325 mesh (44 microns) and are at least theoretically coated in a surfectant that acts as a lubricant. Current commercial applications of MR fluid appear to have pretty much overcome any abrasive qualities.
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?
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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