Progress Blog

Week 1

Cleaned up the lab and organized the bikes.

Week 2

Found a working computer and a copy of Windows 7. One of the bikes was connected but we do not have the drivers for the demo boards already installed. Jon has been trying to get in contact with the software team but has been unsuccessful so far.

Week 3

The handlebars of one of the bikes was taken apart to examine how it was contructed. It was discovered that it is hollow and when one of the rubber ends were cut off, the hollow tip has just about enough room to fit an arcade-style button.

(Click to enlarge the photos)

Week 4

The software team got back in touch with Jon and sent him the link for the previous hardware team's website.

Design has begun on the implementation of directional control using the already existing bike handlebars instead of the current method which uses a Logitech gaming wheel. The first prototype consisted of attaching the handlebars directly to a joystick; however, the joystick base and stick are made from plastic and would most likely not withstand the forces applied to them. This led to us designing our own bracket to hold the bar which is inspired by the way a joystick measures movement. See below for AutoCAD schematics.

Week 5

The AutoCAD schematics were updated to include size measurements based on measurements taken of the bike.

Week 6

After getting in contact with various fabrication shops, it is apparent that the custom joint that was designed is too complicated to be milled on a CNC machine within a reasonable time frame. The amount of PVC material required for the joint would also be quite expensive and was quoted at around four or five hundred dollars for the raw material for one joint.

A new two-axis joint is being designed that will use cheaper and more readily available materials.

Week 7

A new two-axis joint was designed. We purchased a bunch of supplies from Home Depot for the new design. The new joint basically consists of a castor wheel and a door hinge. The wheel was removed from the castor wheel leaving only the rotating part left (the part that attaches to a table or chair). This will provide the side-to-side turning motion for the controls. The door hinge was attached to the castor wheel and that should provide a up-down motion for the controls. The next step for the new design will be to acquire two potentiometers and connect them to the joint to detect movement.

Still having some trouble getting the software from 2008 to work. The problems might be caused by using a 64-bit version of Windows instead of a 32-bit operating system. Another computer was acquired and a 32-bit OS was installed. Testing is still ongoing and hopefully a solution can be found quickly.

The following pictures show the design of the new joint on the whiteboard and the final assembled result.

Week 8

Bike Manager software is finally working correctly. The source code had to be entirely recompiled to work with both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. When the Bike Manager software is running, it detects the forward pedalling motion and backwards pedalling motion and assigns that motion to a keyboard key. The software then mimics a user repeatedly tapping on the specified keyboard key and the frequency of tapping is proportional to the speed at which the user pedals on the bike (detected by measuring the RPM of the flywheel within the bike). The software was tested with two games: Mario Kart and Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Week 9

Potentiometers were connected to the handlebar joint and glued into place using custom made brackets. The buttons for the handlebar were also fitted into the ends. The potentiometers and buttons were wired up to an Saitek joystick's microcontroller board. This was done because of time constraints on the project. There was not enough time to write our own drivers for the directional input and buttons. Using a joystick stick board causes Windows to install generic joystick drivers when it's plugged in. This provides us with analog directional control and multiple button inputs. If more time was available, this would be modified to use the pre-existing Bike Manager driver.

The wiring was fed through from the back of the bike, through the body, and into the front where the rest of the electronics are located. The joystick board was put in a project box and mounted on the bike frame. Below are various pictures of the wiring process.

Project Finished!

The loose wires were tied down to the bike frame and the sides of the bike were put back on.

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