DIY Weekend: Stone-washed cyclocomputer

An Arduino processor and an old pair of jeans is all you need to make a cyclocomputer that records your biking data while making good use of the pants you can't fit into anymore.

Cute! Mark Fickett

If I rode bikes, I'd be very into the cyclocomputer Mark Fickett rigged up with some off-the-shelf parts and a sewable electronic component called a LilyPad that features the handy Arduino processor.

Data! Mark Fickett

A cyclocomputer is a computer that records revolutions of a bike wheel and turns the readings into data such as distance gone, speed averaged, and other information a serious biker might want to have.

Fickett's contraption uses a magnet on a spoke to trip a sensor on the frame every time the wheel goes around. The sensor sends the data to the processor, which is powered by an AA battery. As Fickett's traveling, the computer reports data in real time via Morse code (because English just isn't as cool as it used to be).

The data can also be pulled from the Arduino via serial connection (which we call "USB") and displayed like it is in the graph pictured. A button harvested from a broken VCR acts as a reset button if needed.

Like any good DIY-er, Fickett made sure all the code and parts he used are available. The code is up on GitHub, and all the parts are listed in detail on his site. It's something that could be assembled easily in a weekend.

The LilyPad and other components were sewn into denim from an old pair of jeans for that rustic-yet-functional look. The jeans were cut so that the entire affair lives on the bike frame between the knees--easy to reach, but out of the way. You can see it in action in a video below.

In all, it's a cute and handy invention that appears to do a fine job. Sure, Fickett could have bought a commercially available cyclocomputer--there are plenty out there--but where's the fun in that? If he had, he wouldn't be saluted here on Crave.

To share your DIY project, simply e-mail a description of 350 words or less, including all the geeky ins and outs of your invention, plus relevant links and photos, to crave at cnet dot com. Please put DIY Weekend in the subject line.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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