Exercise along to Google Street View

As part of a Master’s Thesis [Lette Moloney] made this exercise bike control Google Street View. The hardware setup is quite rudimentary, two hall effect sensors mounted next to each other detect a magnet that was hot-glued to the crank. When the magnet passes the sensors an Arduino establishes if it was a forward or backward stroke based on which sensor was tripped first. From there a keystroke is issued to Google Street View to move the virtual location accordingly.

One thing we didn’t expect until we saw the video (embedded after the break) is that traversing street view is not a smooth experience. It’s more of a slide show as you exercise. Not a big deal since the hardware setup can be reused with different virtual stimuli. One thing that comes to mind is attaching a camera to the handlebars of your bike and recording your favorite rides during the warm months so that you can replay them during your indoor winter training. Of course that’s going to require some coding to marry the Arduino data to the speed of the video playback but we want to see it done anyway. Wow, image a database that would allow folks to share point-of-view videos of their rides… it’s the only way we’d ever get to see what it’s like to climb your way up Alpe_d’Huez.

We saw a slew of these stationary bike hacks a while back. If this wets your appetite, check in on one with a wearable display, another that also uses Street View, or pedaling to the top of a miniature mountain.

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Remote bike mountain

The Remote Bike project, caught our eye today. Inspired by “cliff hangers” on the tv show “The Price Is Right”, [atduskgreg] has built his own version. In this version, the bike on the mountain makes progress, or slides back down the mountain based on the speed you pedal.  If you maintain your target speed long enough, you make it to the top of  the mountain and win. The RPMs are gathered from a stationary bike using a hall effect sensor, then piped to an Arduino that controls the bike via a stepper motor and string. That seems fun, and a decent alternative to biking through google maps or something. We have to wonder how long this would be amusing though. Then again, when you’re on a stationary bike you are usually just using a timer or a heart rate monitor anyway, so this is pretty cool.

[via flickr]