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Gadget Freak Case #243: MR Shock Improves Biking
7/22/2013

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Here is the touchscreen mounted on the bicycle.
Here is the touchscreen mounted on the bicycle.

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mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Nice blend of sciences
mrdon   7/22/2013 8:43:42 PM
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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.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Nice blend of sciences
Charles Murray   7/22/2013 6:11:00 PM
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Magnetorheological fluid has been used in shocks and other kinds of dampers previously, but I never expected to see it in a bicycle. Nice work!

Jason Brack
User Rank
Iron
Re: Cell phone would be better
Jason Brack   7/22/2013 4:43:51 PM
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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.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Cell phone would be better
Rob Spiegel   7/22/2013 4:16:12 PM
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Good question about the iron particles, Andy. Hopefully Jason will weigh in on this one. Some of your projects have been pretty close to this complexity, Andy.

armorris
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Cell phone would be better
armorris   7/22/2013 4:07:15 PM
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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?

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Nice blend of sciences
Rob Spiegel   7/22/2013 4:02:16 PM
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Thanks MrDon. As you can see from Jason's project, the Design News presentation becomes a nice resume item for students. On these team efforts, the project also reflects collaboration skills.

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Cell phone would be better
mrdon   7/22/2013 3:24:57 PM
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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!!!

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Nice blend of sciences
mrdon   7/22/2013 2:37:36 PM
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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 Brack
User Rank
Iron
Re: Cell phone would be better
Jason Brack   7/22/2013 2:35:32 PM
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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 Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Nice blend of sciences
Rob Spiegel   7/22/2013 1:33:59 PM
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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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