Team Maelstrom - CENG/ELEC 499 Team 4

Project: USB Bike Controller

The USB Bike Controller project is a pre-approved 499 project from Dr. Bruce Gooch. From the CENG/ELEC/SENG 499 Design Project website, the project is described by the following paragraph.

"In project jointly sponsored by Microsoft Research and LeMond Fitness, our team will modify eight LeMond G-Force recumbent exercise bikes to be haptic video game controllers. The team will interface with engineers at Lemond Fitness to design, prototype, and implement a novel video game input device using video arcade components. The device will connect to a PC using a USB 2.0 full speed interface. We will also replace the current displays with 24-inch flat panel monitors. We will utilize the immersive, virtual environment of Microsoft Flight Simulator X to evaluate the new game control devices. For example, if a player pedals faster their aircrafts speed should increase. We will interface with scientists at Microsoft Research as well as the Microsoft Flight Simulator X team in the evaluation process."

The USB Bike Controller is actually an ongoing project that was started in 2008 by a team consisting of David Whittaker, Wes Alcock, and Ryan Williams. Four bikes were modified from their original form to the versions that were passed on to Team Maelstrom to modify further. The main problem with the 2008 version of the bike was that the placement of the steering wheel (or joystick) was extremely uncomfortable, especially during long workout periods.

The goal for Team Maelstrom was to take the existing modifications made to the bike and create a new human interface that would allow for more comfortable and ergonomic control of a video game. This was achieved by using the already existing handle bars as directional input. A custom joint was built to detect movement in the X and Y directions, thus providing the user with two axes of motion. Two arcade-style buttons were also added to the end of each handle to provide extra input.

Exercise bike before any modifications

Modifications made by the 2008 team

Modifications made by Team Maelstrom

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