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]

18 thoughts on “Remote Bike Mountain

  1. People *seriously* need to buy an STK500 and learn to use Atmel AVR chips by themselves, without an Arduino board. It is pretty damn easy if you find the right tutorial (i think sparkfun has some good ones) and chips range from 50 cents (literally… check out the ATTiny10) to a few dollars for the most powerful chips. I just bought some ATMEGA88’s for like $2, and they do a million things. You could literally run this project with a 6 pin 50 cent ATTINY10 if you’re clever.

    Arduino is cool, but its just like the BASIC Stamp of olden tymes – its so expensive it means you have to hold back on some projects, and thats just a shame. Sure, $20 isn’t bad, but you’re less likely to throw an Arduino in a pumpkin for a little light show than you would be with a $2 chip.

    Just saying…

    Maybe Hackaday could have some AVR tutorials?

  2. I’ll support taylor in his suggestion for people to move from arduino to a standalone AVR. However, I simply do not understand why everyone talks about AVR over PIC so readily. I mean, I learned to write in C, do A/D and perform interrupts on a little 16F demo board in one day. Someone enlighten me!

  3. That’s a really nicely built project! :-)

    @taylor: No need for a development board, either – the SI Prog is two zener diodes, one transistor and five resistors, and works well with avrdude. It should be pretty easy to knock together with a few bits from your parts drawer.

    @samurai: Could you recommend a free C compiler for the 16F series? I had a hunt a while ago, but all I could find were commercial/trial offerings.

  4. @samurai: Thanks, I’ll take a look at it. :-) One reason I got into AVR development more than PIC development was based on the comparative specs between what was available – I’ve found it easier to get my hands on much beefier AVRs than PICs.

  5. Since it half came up, I’ll chime in and say that dsPICs are really nice compared to the 8-bit PICs and have some cool features that AVRs don’t, like really fast ADCs. The C30 compiler is really expensive, but the light/educational version is fairly full-featured, if I remember, just size limited or something. There’s always assembly, of course, but baby steps, arduino people, baby steps…

  6. @taylor
    The advantage of the arduino board is, that it’s really easy to get started… it’s only writing your code and click on run and everything works…
    Of course you are right with the high cost of these boards and I personaly see the arduino more as a prototyping board to be replaced with a “real” microprocessor later…

  7. I love using PICs, but man some things can be hard to understand. Or at least, if you don’t have someone to show you. But now that I’ve been using them for a year or so, they are pretty easy.

    I use the C18 compiler, from microchip. It’s free for students. The limitations weren’t too harsh.

    I find the 18 series to be really powerful, They have a crapload of features.

    But Arduinos have a board…with the PIC you need to breadboard, demo board, or make your own. In which case an arduino is cost competitive. With such a wide user base, I see no reason not to use one.

    that’s my opinion at least.

  8. All the Arduino really is is a cheap AVR development platform with a bootloader and USB interface. The Arduino software is optional, it’s a good learning tool and an easy way to prototype other things like protocols without having to work out the low level stuff first. Since it’s based around AVR-GCC it isn’t terribly hard to convert Arduino projects to regular AVR either. I have both an Arduino and a bare AVR ATMega328P that I use on my breadboard projects. I built a parallel port programmer but decided that a bootloader would make development easier so I modified the Arduino bootloader sliglty and use it on my bare AVR even though I code in AVR Studio for it. It really doesn’t matter what platform you use as long as it gets the job done.

  9. I was sarcastic with The Price is Right plus arduino equals good comment. I find that the satisfaction you get from knowing a system (or whatever you are working with) from the bottom to the top is orders of magnitude greater than whipping up a simple project with lots of flair, and not really understanding what’s truly going on.

  10. Programming PIC and dsPIC for many years, electronic board are simple to setup. But, I spent most of my time configuring the peripheral, getting stuck with interruption problems or “dude” peripheral configuration error.

    So, I wrote a blockset on simulink (from mathworks) capable to configure automatically most dsPIC peripheral.
    Thus, simulink is now capable to generate C code from graphical models. Surprisingly, the generated code is clean and very efficient.
    I have been working with such programming method for my whole PhD (4 years, defending it on next wednesday) about robotic and it has been very efficient.
    This method worth to try it!

    Few personal experiments published using this rapid prototyping method:

  11. @Deyjavont – But you have to start learning it from some point. As a software engineer with no ee background, the Arduino is a nice way to start, because with a small bit of code, and some bits and bobs you have a working project. I’ll acknowledge that i’ll be hardly be advancing any sort of hardware hacking communities capabilities, but that small success drives me to study and better understand the components I am using.

    I’ve just finished sticking together a motor shield, but seeing how few parts there are, I’ll make sure I study and understand how this thing works, and make my own, salvaging components from the 12 printers and scanners I scrounged from work.

    So my point is, those who are not trained in ee, can access this stuff, and at least some of us will develop our understanding, rather than accepting pre-fab like a good consumer :)

    PS has anyone taken a newer printer apart recently, what a piece of crap Cheapo motors with some photo-thingy (still learning) and no stepper. Tight gits.

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