Velosynth annoys those around you as you ride

We’ve always put stock in ‘the quieter the better’ when it comes to road bikes. You’ll find this truth if you spend 100k on the back wheel of someone with a sqeaky rear derailleur. But apparently the folks at Effalo never learned this lesson as they’ve produced a bike computer that generates noise as you ride.

Perhaps it just takes some ingenuity to turn this into a beautiful music maker along the lines of the Force Trainer hack. No problem because the velosynth is a hackable design. The case was made with a vacuum form and inside you’ll find a bunch of small breadboards. The JeeNode, which is an Arduino/Xbee combination, serves as the heart of the device by taking speed and acceleration data from the bicycle wheel. From there it is passed on to various modules, Bob’s your uncle, and sound comes out. Check out their sales pitch after the break and if you’re starting to get some ideas about using this check out the open source info they’ve provided.

[Thanks Kristian]

Comments

  1. ProfessorRobinson says:

    They don’t give an example of what the dB level
    or SPL of the audio output is. It better not be
    obnoxious, if it is, what’s the purpose ? To piss
    off people and risk getting shot ? wtf ? some of
    us who live in residential neighborhoods want a
    little peace and quiet. Not some annoying a-hole
    with a boom-box, or pimped out stereo in a ricer,
    blasting rap music – or synthesizer crap! again
    what’s the purpose of this “hack” ? to just put
    out noise and annoy everyone around you ???

  2. Brian says:

    Ok, I’m all for hacks that have no real use – but what is the deal with a product that has no real use? This video is probably the worst sales pitch I’ve ever seen. The guy just repeats that it uses microcontrollers to make noise…without convincing me that it could even be hacked to do anything of any use to anybody whatsoever.

    I guess this is just a high tech, super obnoxious, very expensive alternative to just clipping a playing card to your forks. Voila – a simple interface which “uses math” to convert data about your speed and acceleration into sound.

  3. EFFALO says:

    howdy! and thanks for your feedback!

    the point here is to create an open-source platform for discovering what’s possible when you combine open source hardware and a bicycle together.

    sure, you can use it to annoy people, but what if instead you used it to augment your natural sense of direction by assigning a melody to play as you head north.

    also, it’s amplified with an LM386, so it’s not super-loud, but just loud enough.

    thanks for the post!

  4. anon says:

    I don’t get it?

    a music generator wired to a bike which is bieng sold for $250 with about ~$10 of components.

    wheres the usefullness?

  5. sparkInTheDark says:

    Actually, the purpose may be “just because”. I have about four projects sitting on my bench right now who’s sole purpose is to amuse me and me alone. However, I do have to say that I would not want the ubiquitous neighborhood kid circling the cul-de-sac ad nauseam with one of these strapped to his huffy.

  6. A Clerk says:

    Overall this entire thing seems a bit silly. Unless you can get it to actually say how fast you are going. If it just makes a noise, you may as well carefully wack certain points of the bike with a wrench until they provide the desired “effect”.

  7. Pagoda says:

    So I can see this being useful as a signaling device… Similar to a bell or something, but completely customizable. I can’t tell you how many times pedestrians or drivers don’t notice me while bike riding. It’s a bit pricey though. I think I might just go and get a nerdy and cheap ringer instead.

  8. Bobs your uncle?

  9. kristian says:

    hey, if it gets people into hacking, some good comes of it, right?

  10. Ikilledkenny says:

    People in Oakland have been making the whistles go whoo whooooooo for quite some time now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgMX81HsSG8

    Anyways give the guys/girls a little credit here. It’s an outside the box idea. I think it would be fantastic if other bike units could link together to produce a musical cord. In theory with enough bikes and practice you could create a moving symphony. Sure utterly useless, but how different is it from painting a bunch of women with conductive paint and turning them into instrument (http://hackaday.com/2009/09/23/arduino-human-synthesizer/).

  11. J says:

    This has to be the most annoying video I have ever seen. Although they have obviously figured out how to use a random number generator to do their video editing for them. It’s best to not direct infomercials while on LSD.

    This should have remained someone’s personal project. To sell something…you need something called “demand”. It helps to have a use to generate demand. For the price of this, I could buy an ipod and amplified speakers and get the bike to turn a small generator to power them. It would be much less annoying and much more useful.

  12. zerth says:

    It’s a bit more than 10 bucks in parts, but only because they are using off-the-shelf breakouts and a JeeNode when they don’t even seem to use/need the wireless.

    If they spent some effort replacing all those premade breakouts with a customer board, they might halve the the cost of the kit, but that would take some upfront investment and the increase in assembly time would probably wipe out any savings on the no-work version.

    Plus, you have to consider they are aiming at cyclists. $250 for the assembled unit seems outrageous, but cyclists spend crazy money on their gear.

  13. sparkInTheDark says:

    @J I completely agree that the cost is just silly. +1 to keeping it a personal project when it comes to selling these things. But I appreciate the exchange of knowledge. If I had the time I would publish the details of all of my projects, no matter how useless or silly. You never know who might just appreciate the details of exactly what you are doing.

  14. alex says:

    I liked the video alot, and I would love to get one to tinker with. I think this does have a (small) safety aspect to it, but mostly because its cool.

    Unfortiounity I blew all my cash on bulk chemicals for photography :/ so unless I could trade prints for parts then I’m outa luck.

    Keep up the good work effalo!

  15. steeve says:

    And another Kickstarter scam. I really got to hate this, because what people do is, set up a project, collect the cash and then bailout themselves via credit card, so they can keep the money already offered. This has to end.

  16. blue carbuncle says:

    I guess I’ll have to up the ante and put TWO cards in my spokes lol :)

    Less than worthwhile project that is just dripping with academia. I tend to avoid these like the plague.

    “Explore the spatial relationship of fists from all different classes of postmodern society to your face as you glide through multicultural neighborhoods and help raise awareness of your own spatial proximity and the intersectionality the tonal inferences make as human social dynamics part the waves of yadaya” lol

  17. greycode says:

    Whoo! That video ain’t selling it. I loathe telling someone “What’s the purpose?” But damn, I am at a loss here.

    Let’s just say that there are a 100 of those on my block. What does it do other than make noise? What am I going to “open source” it to do???

    Is it just me or does anyone else start thinking “hippies”, “communisim”, and “no money in my pocket,” when you hear the words, “open source?”

    I dunno Velosynth, I just don’t know.

  18. greycode says:

    250 bucks? Wow. Even the cheapity is 100 bucks? Wow. Kind of at a loss for words here. This is smelling of “not a good purchase for me” kind of thing.

    I will up the ante even more, three cards, count ‘em, three cards, cost to consumer, 50 cents, including postage and handling.

    Five Air Horns, I could do that for 100 bucks, it is open source, and if you have four friends, you can “network” them.

    For 50, bucks, no, I need to get this idea out of my head. I hate hippies. I really do.

  19. steeve says:

    EFFALO was chartered to synthesize, modulate, and deploy multimodal emergent systems that encourage interaction on a hyperglobal level. given the immense scale of this task, we maintain that distributed microlocal interaction is the most effective method for multiplexing a higher-level vertical adaptation.

    http://effalo.com/

  20. VIPER! says:

    Wow that would be cool IF it made pleasant sounds.
    I really don’t see one going on my bike any time soon.

  21. sM10sM20 says:

    That was just horrible. I think bicycles and technology make a cute couple but the product presentation is just ridiculous. The product itself is only semi-ridiculous but the video does nothing to help this unfortunately.

  22. km says:

    @steeve haha, that is just dripping with bullshit

  23. Loren says:

    one could do this with a 555 timer and a reed switch.

  24. greycode says:

    @effalo.com Put the thesaurus down and back away from the terminal. Sorry, guide the local multi page document enhancer to the horizontal surface that you are electrostaticly attached to and gently ensure that negative locomotion is applied to your ligaments.

    Your website is a who’s who in 25 cent words. It is lacking on details, and is a certain Barnum and Bailey example of if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

    Where I live at, there is a saying, you can put lipstick and wings on a pig, and it is not going to be an angel. It won’t even fly. Right now I am seeing bright lights, a hippy, and a lot of crappy special effects and a lousy imitation of a crappy late night pitch for a turnip twaddler.

    If you want my money, especially 250/100 dollars of it, I need to see that hippy singing in the rain with soap and shampoo in one hand, clean set of clothes in the other. The announcer can wash his back and hand him a towel. Oh, and a product to sell.

  25. Loren says:

    Hook this up to a car amp, now you talking pissed off people.

  26. genome says:

    I have to ask myself whether or not hackaday has been stung by some elaborate work of ironic “performance art”, and if this is a good thing or not…

  27. Lucia says:

    Only an idiot would come up with something to make a bicycle more noisy. This is not a hack, is not funny, it’s nothing but idiocy. BTW how is it a hack to put a radio on your car and drive with it blasting off? OMG! Look at me! What’s the next ‘hacker’ thing? I know! I know! stickers on the frame! Hell yeah!

  28. Bob's Your Uncle says:

    hyperglobal? microlocal? I considerthink I’ll walksaunter to the coldfridge and getgrab a biglarge cupglass of deliciousgood beerbeverage.

    This velociraptor thingy is stunning only in its complete and utter FAIL over the entire spectrum of whatever they are doing. The supreme fail coupled with the arrogance of their site(s) is beyond wordslanguage. Their one real product is a basic plastic tray wordsmithed into the second coming of the FSM!

    Sheesh, save yourself some money and give Adafruit or SparkFun some business – you will get a whole lot more, learn a lot, support qualitygood people and end up with something unique and cool!

  29. strider_mt2k says:

    It’s baffling, yet entertaining in a way that makes me want to not associate myself with it at all.

    It’s a to-go container full of electronics that makes noise when you rubber band it to the frame of your bike.

    You’d have more fun and possibly cooler results from circuit bending an old bike radio with a few of the same components.
    One of those big AM handlebar mount suckers that radio Shack used to sell…you know…with the horn?

    So it’s inspirational too.

    nice

  30. mike says:

    I have always wanted to start my own ice-cream rickshaw business! Thanks.

  31. blue carbuncle says:

    I had to share this since it has made my saturday:
    Just got done visiting my sis and niece for breakfast. My niece has a little scooter firetruck that she had wedged the “push popcorn” thingy to the front of. I can only tell you it had a very negative effect on my brother in law and dog, who were trying to sleep. I instantly thought of this HAD post and want to welcome an (almost) two year old hacker extraordinaire to our scallywag crew :)

    Go Delaynie lol :)

  32. I have some ocean side property in Kansas I’d like to sell you. Real cheap too!

  33. Greg says:

    Ok, funny thing here is that the sheer awfulness of this expensive grab bag of parts – which uses an Arduino – has completely stunned the Arduino haters into submission!

    I think this is not a bicycle hoo-haw at all but a cleverly engineered way to neuter the HAD audience?

  34. Shogan says:

    I think it is an interesting idea. As somebody else mentioned, if it can kickstart a person’s interest in hacking/modding then its got to be useful for something… It may even inspire other more useful ideas for other devices.

  35. steeve says:

    > if it can kickstart a person’s interest in >hacking/modding then its got to be useful for >something…

    But it won’t. Either you already know, or you won’t figure out. A soldering iron is 10 bucks and much more likely to “kickstart” (plus less annoying and laughable)

  36. greycode says:

    A. the price to what you get ratio is out of whack.

    B. The price is too damn high.

    @Steeve is right, this is a scam, the more and more I think about this. And if this is not, the money is still going down a deep dark hole and that hippie still ain’t getting a bath. This is how “open source” gets a bad name.

    @J is right also, no making sales brochures when you are liquored up.

    Someone, and I am not going to mention any names, but their initials are Velosynth, needs to go back to school, fore go creative writing 901, you may have learned too much there, go back to economics 101. And please, pretty please with sugar on top, share your drugs with us, they must be some primo stuff.

  37. Greg says:

    @greycode
    The term carpetbagger comes to mind.

    >>This is how “open source” gets a bad name.
    Yerp. Lets hope this is not a trend.

  38. genome says:

    The idea itself is not flawed. the tech allows you make your bike sound like anything.

    Imagine making your bike sound like the Millenium Falcon or a Tie Fighter!

    Granted it doesn’t have to be as expensive.

  39. b5 says:

    People, hasn’t the recent vuvuzela controversy shown the amount of public distaste for noise pollution?

  40. Cynic says:

    Hipsters need to leave electronics alone. I hope nobody would pay $100 for a hall-effect sensor, 4 digit 7-seg, arduino and xbee in a hamburger box.

  41. D_ says:

    Wow this entry has hit a raw nerve didn’t?

  42. Suprisingly enough, I’m drawing up a dissertation similar to your post at present. Consequently, I’d liek to say thank you for kindly allowing this thought provoking text to be unreservedly unrestricted to everyone accessing this site. I’ll update you once I’m happy with it, if you dont’ mind.

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