Google Maps + Exercise Bike = Virtual Bike Ride

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Picture of Google Maps + Exercise Bike = Virtual Bike Ride
Hook up your exercise bike to Google Maps and turn your boring stationary bike into a virtual reality excursion!

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Step 1: Parts List

Picture of Parts List
To do this project, you're gonna need to gather a few parts:

Step 2: How This Will Work

Picture of How This Will Work
The premise behind how this works is pretty simple. The magnetic alarm runs off of a reed switch that connects every time a magnet is near it. So if we connect this switch to the up arrow key on the keypad, then every time a magnet passes by, the switch will connect and the button will be pressed. So if you have Google Maps open, pressing the up button will propel you forward.

Step 3: Solder the alarm to the keypad

Picture of Solder the alarm to the keypad
Open up the keypad until you see the circuit boards that comprise it. Find which circuits connect to trigger the up arrow key (or key 8) and connect the wires to it. Since there are thousands of different keypads available on the market, yours will not look exactly like the one I used in this example. But in my case, I was able to find that circuits 4 and 3 (shown in the graphic below) connected when the up arrow key was pressed. So I traced those circuits back to the main logic board and soldered the alarm wires to them, so that when the alarm is tripped, it triggers the up arrow.

Step 4: Test the rig

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Once you have the wires connected to the button, put everything back together. You may need to cut some of the plastic casing in order to accommodate the extra wires we added. Now plug the USB keypad into your computer and open up and make it full screen. Then you'll need to hit the numlock key on the keypad to turn the number lock off. Now whenever you pass a magnet by the alarm switch, the map should move forward.
WalidM2 days ago

nice idea

redlohnewo6 months ago

How could I adapt this for a treadmill(running machine)?

Future Dezign6 months ago
Loved your project. Suggestion, Make it better with a virtual reality headset. Keep up the good work!

Future Dezign
This is tinker nuts idea
mykiscool1 year ago
What I'm doing right now is making a thing like this for the play station. I am making a speed sensor with arduino that depending on the speed of the bike will press down the pedal for a racing pedal using a servo. I will also find a way put the front wheel on a turntable and connect that to the wheel.
mahkeymike1 year ago
If you lift the cover off the treadmill where the motor is, theres a wheel that already has a magnet on it, and there should already be a speed sensor mounted so the magnet on the wheel passes over it. Tap into that or buy a bicycle speedometer and a sensor should come with it and you can mount that near the other sensor so that the magnet passes that sensor aswell.
mrworf2 years ago
Why don't you just drive a real bike?
techboy4113 years ago
You are a GENIUS! You are the best in these things.
GameNox4 years ago
It's not really a "hack".
Upload it to Google Demo Slam!
godofal4 years ago
hmm, im stunned by how people always find new way's to to exactly the same as before! what improvement is there, compared to just grabbing your bike and go out for real? you actually see alot less!! nice idea, and instructable, its just that i think that's a bit odd....
Things like this are very useful in places such as Canada where the biking season is only about 4 months long on a good year
rabidy godofal4 years ago
sometimes you want to take a bike ride but its raining, or too hot. or too cold.
godofal rabidy4 years ago
iknow, but what kind of wussies are we? we wont melt XD
bikes rust
if ur bike rusts, u got a bad bike....
No kidding.
dude bikes rust all the time.
Only cheap ones rust quickly, and if you take care of your bike, it won't rust. I've taken my bike on many rides in the rain, I just bring it inside afterwards and it never rusts. Bikes only rust if you let them sit outside 24/7.
when you have a garage full of $#!7, a tarp over the bike doesnt work, just leave it out. i have a leaky garage too
And everyone knows carbon bikes melt in the rain! ;)
Last time I went out in the real world on my bike a pack of teenagers in a car had target practice driving past and spitting on me. Anyway I would rather ride a virtual bike around the Grand Canyon or along the streets of Tokyo than around my suburban block for real. Another thing, In my current condition, I think it would be easier for the ambulance driver to find my body at home rather than a nondescript "somewhere around the block" {^..^}.
jlms godofal4 years ago
You don't live in London (or any other big town with poor cycling infrastructure) where it is impractical to just grab your bike and go out.... And clearly you live in a tropical country where snow is not an issue...
TobaTobias4 years ago
warengadia4 years ago
nice job i have learn about this project
johnnyblegs4 years ago
How to you turn?
gigafide (author)  johnnyblegs4 years ago
Eitehr just manually press the arrow keys, or you could wire other alarms up to the other arrow keys.
or add buttons to the handle bars that connect top the left and right keys!
geoslim134 years ago
I have seen one that has virtual reality goggls hooked to the computer
Bayfielder4 years ago
Very ingenious! I love the simplicity of it. I feel very bad bringing this up now, but how do you steer this thing? I hate having to stop every once in a while to drop the little man in a new spot. I'm going to monkey around the keypad, maybe wiring an old joystick to it will work. I'm just not that familiar with the google controls.
or add buttons to the handlebars wired to the left and right keys
Foaly74 years ago
You could even connect the computer to your tv, but that would probably be more expensive.
Nope. Aslong as your PC has a good enough graphics card you can use your TV the same way you would use a monitor
if you have a fancy tv you can even use HDMI from your pc
kcls4 years ago
What happens if you have to turn?
That is what I was thinking.
add some buttons on the handlebars wired to the left and right buttons?
mason01904 years ago
G GE GEN GENI GENIO GENIOU GENIOUS GENIOU GENIO GENI GEN GE G .. now where can i pick up one of those alarms? TrueValue® maybe?
and maybe add some buttons on the handles to turn left and right?
bumper444 years ago
What brand/model laptop is that. I like it....
it looks like a MacBook Air
othar4 years ago
simple... and do the job.... mcGyver spirit .... perfect,,, i will do it for my Treadmill
inchman othar4 years ago
I am trying to figure out the best way to do this on a treadmill. (I will make and 'ible if I figure it out.) My concerns are... 1-How to keep a piece of metal attached to the rubber mat without compromising the mat. 2-The refresh rate of the Google maps it takes upwards of 4 seconds to refresh the image on google maps, yet my belt passes the but the belt takes 1.1 second (at 7 mph) on the treadmill to rotate. So I would need to figure out how to "gear down" the signal or how to get it only to close the contact on ever 4th (or more) rotation.
1) Attach magnet to your shoe. 2) Attach the receiver part to the right/left (depending which shoe you placed the magnet on) of the rotating mat. This way whenever you take a step the switch will be triggered.
Purchase a replacement lawnmower wheel and build an arm which holds it in contact with the mat, Attach the magnet to the wheel
Use a piece of the flexible rubber magnet from a refrigerator door seal stuck on with contact glue designed for rubber. Set the Keyboard repeat properties in windows to a Long Delay and Slow repeat. You will be running in slow motion on the screen put you can pretend you are really an Inchman with legs 1/4 scale {^..^}.
amando964 years ago
That keypad has BS button, would come in useful.
Is there an alternative to a magnetic reed switch?
salasrcp904 years ago
so smart!!!
garczi4 years ago
this is damn creative!
instruct394 years ago
Great instructable! this is so cool and easy, i voted for it in the usb contest.
Light_Lab4 years ago
It's pretty easy to pull the chip out off an old full keyboard. Even an old keyboard that has succumbed to the combined effects of gravity and hot coffee. By connecting a switch between a pair of the control pins on the chip any key on the full keyboard can be emulated. In this way you could put in steering etc etc. The chip is usually already on a circuit board complete with USB cable and LEDs. A few toggle switches and a joystick you could make a combined Exercise Machine Games Console. Great for deflabbing those teenagers (and others) hooked on computer games.
tripl3x4 years ago
Lol, just figured out a nice use for this. Riding bicycle in GTA San Andreas, and you could use 2 switches on the handle bars for turning. In GTA San Andreas to cycle faster you have to press the Up key (or W) many times fast so it's quite nice to try like this :P.
dark sponge4 years ago
I like the simplicity of this project. If I were directed to make something like this without any instructions, I probably would have a microcontroller interfacing with a computer in a complicated way that only experienced people would even attempt this project. But with your idea, almost anyone can do it, and for that I give you 5 stars.
Plus, because of simplicity people can add to it. If you added two momentary switches to the sides of the bike and to the left and right arrow keys you could turn corners if you wanted to.
gummypaul4 years ago
This way when you fall off your bike you don't get road rash. Better wear your helmet though : )
Super neat! How about adding statistics like how fast you're going and how far you've traveled??
matstermind4 years ago
too bad streetview doesn't run smoothly
Kaiven4 years ago
That's awesome! I would sooo build that if I had the money... I've been wanting to get in shape but it's so hot here.
TSC4 years ago
It would be neat if you placed laptops on either side of you. it facing the side of the road then it would be a little more realistic
Ben.land1014 years ago
personally, i find that hilarious. but you should also mention that you need to go to the street view on google maps.
ih8gates4 years ago
Nice. I think I saw you demo this at the Durham NC Maker Faire!
zascecs4 years ago
That's pretty neat!
Sweet idea! How do you think of these things? There is a laptop holder that mounts on the handle bars on any bike. This would put the laptop right at your finger tips. It is called a FitDesk. I have one and can post a photo if anyone wants to see it.
robot1174 years ago
This is a cool idea, but why not just go out side for a bike ride. I heard that the graphics are really good :p
The real world is not HD :-P. ...unless you have 20/20 or better...hmm...alright, I'll try this "real world"
or any vision enhancement peripherals aka glasses or contacts...
nickodemus4 years ago
A nice adaptation would be of Eric's treadmill desk! :D
I would try this... But I can't get StreetView to render fast enough to be enjoyable...
Jareth2474 years ago
Y'know, this could have potential in the arena of computer gaming. And if you know how, maybe use a head-mounted display in lieu of a monitor (maybe make one?).
timweaver174 years ago
awesome sir.
your dog4 years ago
wow thats a neat idea!