“A system that gives my bike front and tail lights, a turn signal, and a speedometer, all in a clean and simple design.
Hello! My name is Collin Wentzien, and I am a 15 year old maker and electronics enthusiast. For these past few weeks, I’ve focused my attention away from video games and towards a project which I call the smart bike. I’m going to give you all a quick overview on how it works, and then I’ll talk about why I made it, how I made it, and then show you some footage of using it in the real world. Let’s hop into it.
Now, real quick, I just want to get something out of the way. This is not an electric bike. It has no motor and does not speed up my biking in any shape or form.
Alright, now that you see what my project is about, I’m going to briefly talk about why I made it. Aside from building things and doing schoolwork, I also partake in cross country and soccer. However due to a recent injury, I’ve been unable to do either for the past seven weeks. My only form of exercise at this point is biking, and while biking, which I now do nearly every day, I often struggle to communicate with drivers. I mean, think about it: a car has ways to communicate, as you have front and back lights, turn signals, and a horn. On a bike however, you only have two things: your voice and your hands. It’s quite difficult to talk to drivers, especially if their window is rolled up, and hand gestures can often come across as rude. And that’s my problem. I just can’t seem to be able to communicate with drivers.
That’s where the smart bike system comes into play. It features a front light for night time biking, a brake light to alert drivers when you are slowing down or stopping, a turn signal, and a small piezo buzzer to notify nearby pedestrians of your presence. In addition to all that, the bike system also includes a GPS, letting me get time, date, and most importantly, my speed. And I was able to do all of this, for under $120.
Now, to building it. A list of all the parts is available at the top of the page. To power the smart bike system, I chose to use an Arduino MEGA Pro. There were a few reasons behind this approach, the main two being that I needed a decent amount of digital pins, and that my sketch size was almost double the capacity of an Arduino Nano, my original board. To drive the user interface, I used two 1.4 inch displays. I’ve used these little things more times than I can count, and I absolutely love them. To make the lights, I used some RGB addressable LEDs. Not only are they plenty bright for my application, but the fact that they’re multi-colored and addressable means that I can minimize the amount of wires needed. To detect my speed, I went with the NEO6M GPS module. This module works wonderfully with the TinyGPS++ library, which I ended up using in my code. Finally, for the power, lights, and horn buttons, my perfectionism opted into buying three stainless steel, LED-lit buttons. They were a bit pricey, but boy do they look nice. There’s a few other components I used, such as a piezo buzzer for the pedestrian horn, two endstop switches for the brake and alternate horn button, and an on-off-on toggle switch.
Here’s an image of me using it at night, with the front light illuminated. It’s a lot brighter in person!”