Say Hello to Precious, a Bike with a Brain
Ever feel like your car’s mad at you for not changing its oil? Or maybe you’ve felt your vacuum’s joy after its been emptied? We thought it was time for one of our quiet little friends to finally get their voice. Say hello to Precious, the bike that can share its thoughts and feelings, all to benefit LIVESTRONG®.
Starting at the Atlantic and ending at the Pacific, Precious will spend 3 months riding across the country sharing his thoughts, experiences, body temperature and much more. Fitted with a brain of wires, circuits and whole lot of code, he’ll use his new silicon senses to share what it feels like to have a sweaty chain while riding up the side of the Rockies. He’ll even share his subconscious dreams from time to time, which can get a little, well, bike-freaky. Go check in on him and see if he’s being moody today.
HOW IT ALL WORKS
To gather all of the data from the bike, we developed a device to capture temperature, humidity, grade, speed, cadence (pedal rotation), direction and GPS. The device takes several readings from each sensor, then sends the average values via text message using a cellular module. We utilized the Twitter API to receive and parse the text messages, which are then analyzed by our servers. In order to preserve battery life (we get 35+ hours on a single charge), the device wakes itself up every 5 minutes to check readings and submit data. The rider can also hit a button on the handlebars to trigger the device to report the data for that exact moment.
Once all the information reaches our servers, the "brain" really kicks in. Our servers analyze the data: how many messages have been sent so far today, the time of day, etc. This helps to ensure that every message is appropriate, both in context and timing. The servers look for patterns 24 hours a day, and if they find anything interesting, e.g. it's been 80ºF with non-stop hills for two days, it will push a message expressing the bike's feelings on the matter.