Picture of Bicycle North Indicator

Magnetoception is the ability of some animals to detect magnetic fields as a means of orienting themselves.  Although humans do not seem to posses the same biological mechanisms that allow other animals to sense magnetic fields, there are still many ways that we can improve our sense of spatial orientation. 

This project is an attachment to your bicycle that beeps to let you know that you are moving in the direction of magnetic north.  It uses a parallax digital compass module, an Arduino, and a piezo buzzer to give you directional feedback as you bike.  The basic idea here is that by providing a constant source of stimuli in a certain direction, you might find yourself becoming more aware of other visual or sensory cues in your commute that indicate your orientation: geographical landmarks, air currents, inclines, or the position of the sun, moon, and stars.

(1x) Parallax 3-Axis Compass Module Radioshack 276-123
(1x) 85dB Piezo Buzzer Radioshack 273-060
(1x) Arduino Uno REV 3 Radioshack 276-128
(1x) 9V Alkaline Battery Radioshack #23-866
(1x) Heavy-Duty 9V Snap Connectors Radioshack #270-324
(1x) PC Board with Copper Radioshack #276-147
(1x) SPST PC-Mountable Submini Toggle Switch Radioshack #275-645
(2x) Male Header Pins Jameco 103393
(1x) Female Pin Sockets Jameco 308567
(1x) 9-Volt Battery Holder Radioshack 270-326

Additional Materials:

Heat Shrink Radioshack #278-1611
22 Gauge Wire Radioshack #278-1224
Solder Radioshack #64-013
zip ties
4-40 x 1" nuts and bolts
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Step 1: Schematic

The schematic above shows how simple this project is.  A 9V battery and switch are connected in series to the Vin and ground pins of the Arduino- this is the power supply for the project.  The Arduino supplies power to two pins of the compass module (see note in the image above) and analog pins A4 and A5 are used to receive data from the compass module.  the piezo buzzer is controlled by Arduino digital pin 7.
Rouverius12 months ago
What might be an interesting feature is to have a "Orienteering" setting. Point the bike in a direction and have a button that sets that as the desired direction.

As for the annoyance that you have with the buzzer, replacing it with a more natural sound might help. The first idea that comes to mind is a solenoid driven bike bell. Another option might be a haptic output: replace with a pager motor or linear resonant actuator. You might even be able to hack the existing piezo buzzer's oscillator to work at 100-300Hz but I think you'd need higher voltages to act as a haptic device.
amandaghassaei (author)  Rouverius9 months ago

those are great ideas!

Lindie2 years ago
Very nice!
londobali2 years ago
Where the hey' do you get your ideas from?
i'd like to get me some too.. :)

Thanks for sharing!