Bike Cross Country In Your Basement With Google Streetview

Biking cross-country is a worthwhile pursuit, but then you’ll have to deal with terrible drivers, rain, bugs, and heat. [Jeff Adkins] over at lowendmac has a neat solution to exploring the country via bicycle without ever leaving the safety and air conditioning of your basement.

For his build, [Jeff] used a magnetic reed switch attached to the frame of his stationary bike and the pedal crank. Whenever the pedal crank is turned, a reed switch closes on every revolution. This reed switch is connected to a new Arduino Leonardo programmed to transmit keyboard presses to a computer for every five revolutions of the pedal. From there, it’s a simple matter of loading up Google Streetview on a laptop and letting the Arduino automatically advance through Streetview images while pedaling.

The next part of [Jeff]’s project will be adding left and right buttons to his stationary bike to navigate Google Streetview images without taking his hands off the handlebars. You can check out a demo of [Jeff] cruising around after the break.

via reddit


11 thoughts on “Bike Cross Country In Your Basement With Google Streetview

    1. I understand what you’re saying. An Arduino is massive overkill for a project like this… But looking in my drawer full of bits now, I have a spare arduino sat doing nothing and not a reed switch in sight.

  1. It’s probably easier on the windows side to use something like the Leonardo which can emulate a USB-Serial port or HID device.

    Pick your poison, embedded programming and costs, or windows programming and time.

    1. Then, you could use el cheapo USB keyboard, still saving money over arduino and hook up to arrow keys rows and columns. Then just add some logic like 4017 counter to divide frequency by 5.

  2. Back in 2003, my Masters project was to build a system very like this, using a Woodway treadmill. We had no Google Maps back then, so we shot a video of a long corridor using a camera on a dolly (a wheeled tripod) towing a little trailer behind that made an audio ping on the video camera’s soundtrack. Then I laboriously processed the video into the PC, and calculated the linear position of every frame based on the audio pings. When all was done, you could walk on the treadmill and see the corridor move as you walked – on a giant projection screen. It would have been so much more fun had we had Google maps to give some better scenery!

  3. Common its the fact that you can do it and the fun of doing that counts. There are many ways to do things, get out there and do them instead of posting comments on how some one chose to do it.

    1. No, it doesn’t, but I think it could theoretically. I chose to use the arduino because a) it was cheap b) I had some of the parts I needed already and c) it is easy to program. it’s transportable, repeatable (I already built 2 of them) and works for me. But that doesn’t mean the keyboard solution is not as good, it’s just what you know and what makes it fun.

  4. Some guys working at what was formerly the bureau of mines managed to use the doom (a first person shooter) rendering engine to recreate maps of various large mines. You could walk around the schematic of the mine, but it was, you know, just Doom.

    However, there is no joy like the joy of slowly rotating a polhemus receiver while an attractive and scantily clad freshman engineering student attempts to walk around in the VR mine of Doom, whilst her classmates suppress giggles as her cerebellum induces her to limbo a little lower now, only sideways.

    Inducing vertigo and vomiting in freshmen – still easily the most entertaining VR app after 15 years of hard science and equipment upgrades.

    The guy who added the nice little touch of the “he’s gonna pop” scene in the matrix where Keanu Reeve’s character vomits after leaving VR was there once, and later asked numerous questions after he heard “someone” betting on who could pull this off in the shortest amount of time.

    Fun fact: our brains are easily tricked into becoming disoriented when other people control what you see – in fact, it takes very little effort to send someone careening out of control and make them do things they would never fall for under normal circumstances.

    Wait, wait. I guess I’m actually talking about elections. Well, the principles are very similar.

  5. Hi Jeff. Ive been doing this project as well. I’m using keyboard.write(218) for up arrow, 215 for left arrow and 216 for right arrow. If I just use the sketch in a notepad doc, the arduino navigates the cursor correctly. But if I’m in Streetview, only the up arrow works. The right and left arrow codes do nothing. This happens in Chrome and Mozilla. But if I use old IE8, things work fine.

    Any suggestions how I can get the right and left arrow keyboard.write commands to work with Chrome would be appreciated. Thanks, Gord(

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