Keep Pedaling to Keep Playing

It’s been said that the best way to tackle the issue of childhood obesity would be to hook those children’s video game consoles up to a pedal-powered generator. Of course, this was said by [Alex], the creator of Cykill. Cykill interfaces an Xbox to an exercise bike, so to keep the video game going you’ll have to keep pedaling the bike.

While there is no generator involved in this project, it does mimic the effect of powering electronics from a one. The exercise bike has a set of communications wires, which are connected to a relay on the Xbox’s power plug. When the relay notices that the bike isn’t being pedaled enough, it automatically cuts power to the console. Of course, the risk of corrupting a hard drive is high with this method, but that only serves to increase the motivation to continue pedaling.

The project goes even further in order to eliminate temptation to bypass the bike. [Alex] super-glued the plug of the Xbox to the relay, making it extremely difficult to get around the exercise requirement. If you’re after usable energy instead of a daily workout, though, there are bikes out there that can power just about any piece of machinery you can imagine.

11 thoughts on “Keep Pedaling to Keep Playing

    1. Agreed. I also think a bank of credit should be built in. If a person works out extra hard and wants to take a break, why not let the credits take over? They need to be factored in such a way to allow short breaks, but not lengthy ones.

      Think I’ve found another project to put on the pile.

      1. Hook a stepper motor or other sensor to the bike and use it to produce pulses when someone is pedaling, then read speed plus time to find distance. Once you have the distance update it into a file and let the process running the game read it, start a timer and send a kill signal to the game process when it’s over, then zero the variable and die.

        1. On the bike my kid uses (when he decides he wants to) for exercise indoors there’s an encoder for speed indication. Should be able to feed that pulse into an arduino with a relay or an IR emitter. Put a display on top of the bike display and tell him how much play time he gets with the pedal work he’s done.

          Little scamp is a smart one though. Be just like him to hack into it.

  1. Just make the controller wired and cut power to the USB wire. In the case of the 360 and XBONE, it simply pops up a “plug in your controller please” message and pauses your game for you.

  2. Back in the early 90s, I wrote the code for a system that fit between an exercise bicycle and a PC/AT running BattleHawks 1942. You’d plug your keyboard and joystick into our system, then plug our system into the PC/AT. There were also connections to a speed sensor on the bicycle, as well as a generator to provide resistance.

    The code was specific to the game – you’d pull back on the joystick to climb, and pedaling would get harder. Push the joystick forward, and pedaling resistance would drop.

    The system generated periodic “decrease velocity” keystrokes, so you’d have to keep pedaling to generate the “increase velocity” keystrokes to compensate and keep you flying. Keys you pressed on the keyboard and button presses on the joystick were passed through. Things like that.

    The prototype ended up in the boss’s basement. As far as I know, he never found anyone willing to buy the system and start producing them.

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