Affordable, highly capable, and open-source computing hardware, such as the increasingly popular Raspberry Pi, continues to have its innovative influence on the maker world. Take, for instance, Matt Richardson, the Brooklyn-based maker, video producer, and writer, who hasn’t taken the onset of these devices lightly by the looks of all of the crafty gadgets he’s built.
This time, Richardson shows off his newly-assembled tech gear that straps onto his mountain bike and projects his real-time riding speed on the ground as he rides around the streets of New York at night.
Matt Richardson rides around the streets of Brooklyn with his new Raspberry Pi-powered headlight projection device. (Source: Matt Richardson)
The device is very much still a working prototype, but its potential for bike-riding glory speaks for itself. To detect the bike’s moving speed, a Hall sensor is attached near the front wheel of the bike. Hall sensors vary their output voltage according to changing nearby magnetic fields, and thus can be used for speed detection and proximity sensing applications.
This sensor is wired up to a breadboard that sits on a piece of balsa wood; the wood is strapped between the top, down, and seating tubes of the bike (the middle, triangular section of the bike) with a few pieces of velcro straps to keep it from moving. From the breadboard, another wire is hooked up to a Raspberry Pi that is powered by an onboard USB cellphone battery pack charger. Finally, an HDMI cable runs along the tubes and up onto the bike’s handlebars where a small, downward-facing projector is clamped.
The result of Richardson's invention is a high-tech headlight capable of projecting a rider’s current speed. Since this is only the first prototype, Richardson (in the video below) says he will be working on packing the components into a single piece rather than laying them out on a piece of balsa wood. He also hints at future iterations that will include GPS integration and the addition of an animated projection mode.
It will be interesting to see what the future iterations of this project will integrate. Fellow makers have already suggested options: using the projector for navigation via Google maps, heart rate monitoring, distance traveled calculations, and strapping on a dynamo to energize the onboard battery charger.
Excellent article. I agree that there seems to be potential interesting iterations of this technology. Google maps and heart rate monitoring seems like great ideas, and it sounds like you could provide a complete set of "dashboard intruments" to potentially measure speed, distance, etc.
I agree, Al. It's a great article and a great idea. If I were going to bet on a technology that will get snapped up by the marketplace, I'd bet on this. I think this guy has something big here. Like you, Al, I also like the other apps, especially the heart rate monitor.
Great post. I know several guys who are really into biking and speed racing. I mean they do 45 or 50 miles on weekends; for around here with the hills, is insane. They love it though. I agree with Charles, this concept will be picked up quickly when the hardware designs are solidified. Adding GPS is a definite must and will provide value-added to the entire concept. Could also be made an option. I'm sending this link to my friends to get their "take" and will respond when they get back to me. A great idea.
I'm a big fan of DIY and this is very creative, but I'm a little bemused on the utility. Cutting-edge bike techies will buy anything, but as a non-cutting edge biker I would never put a distraction like this in my headlight. I would much rather maintain awareness of my surroundings than to know I was going exactly 15 mph when that cabbie broadsided me...
Yes, selling top end gadgets to bicyclists is almost a sure thing. I would like to see heartrate info next to the speed, because your're usually trying to keep heartrate within a narrow range for the best aerobic exercise.
I wonder how far we are from adding technologies that alert bike riders to the dangers that are coming at them. "Dog on your right." "Another bike coming up behind you." "Watch out for a motorist on the right!" We are seeing accident avoidance in cars already, will it go to bikes next? Or will that just distract the rider and cause more problems. Don't know. Cool to see stuff like this expanding into other areas though.
This works at night, and looks really good. It would be interesting to see if there is a display technology that would allow you to project this in some way to a point in front of the bike that was perhaps not the ground. That would allow a display that could be used during the day and could integrate some of those other sources. The Raspberry Pi platform could easily handle that.
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