Introduction: Inflatoseat Bike Saddle / Smart Seat

Picture of Inflatoseat Bike Saddle / Smart Seat

A specially designed bike saddle which minimizes perineal compression and protects penile perfusion, which in doing so reduces the risks for temporary genital numbness and erectile dysfunction. This is achieved through the following: a wide mid-line gap running from the front to back ends of the saddle, which allows the genitalia to avoid compression that would normally be present in a typical saddle; the addition of two air bladders on the rear end, which add extra width to allow proper support of the pelvic bones and which redistribute the weight of the rider over a larger area to reduce compression zones that would cause discomfort. These air bladders are filled mechanically via tubes connected to an air compressor that is attached to the bike. Solenoid valves and a micro-controller allow the rider to control how much air fills the air bladders upon activation. This allows for more customization of the bike saddle by the end user based on personal preference than a typical one would. Thus, the device allows for increased comfort over long distance rides and reduces the risk for future urogenital disorders.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Picture of Materials & Tools
  • Materials
    • Bike saddle
      • Wood
        • Rectangular, flat, thin
        • Size dependent on user preference
      • Solid foam
      • Netting
        • Can take from fresh produce boxes' nets (such as for clementines)
      • Spray paint
        • Black, Protective Enamel
      • Putty
        • To seal holes when drilling
    • (Optional) Pre-existing bike saddle
      • Can cut as necessary and take metal base and support from seat
    • Nuts, bolt
    • Pneumatics
      • (2) Air Bladders
        • AirJacks were used
      • (2) Solenoid Valves
      • (1) Air Compressor
      • (1) Arduino Microcontroller
      • (1) Bluetooth Receiver
      • (1) Breadboard
      • (3) H-Bridges
      • Tubes
        • Which fit the solenoid and the air bladders
      • Wires
      • Metal brackets
        • Secure tubes when connected
      • (2) Adapters, Plugs, 12 Volts
  • Tools
    • Power drill
    • Blade
    • Soldering iron

Step 2: Assembling Bike Saddle

Picture of Assembling Bike Saddle
  1. For this project, a thin piece of wood was cut to the shape of a preexisting wide bike saddle
  2. A piece of foam was cut to the shape of the wood cutout
  3. Glue the foam to the wood
  4. Cut a midsection gap about 1 inch wide down the center of the foam. Don't cut through the wood. Leave a 1 inch gap near the back of the seat and then continue to the end.
  5. Measure the air bladders and cut rectangular sections out of the foam from the left and the right side where the rider sits.
    1. Cut a small hole that allows the tube for the air bladders to sit flush with the seat.
  6. Take the preexisting bike saddle and remove the cushion.
  7. Mount the newly made foam saddle by drilling holes in the top through the foam and wood. Connect with nuts and bolts.
  8. Use putty to seal up the holes made by drilling
  9. Take the rectangular block of wood that will be your base. Drill an additional block of wood, about 1/3 the width of the base, onto the base.
    1. Drill a hole the diameter of the bike saddle support.
    2. Drill a hole into the bike saddle support near the button
    3. Place the bike saddle support in the hole of the block. Connect the two with a screw that fits into the hole drilled into the support.

Step 3: Assembling Pneumatics

Picture of Assembling Pneumatics

Location of the electronics is user preference. Preferably, keep the electronics within close proximity to one another to make it easier to connect them together.

  1. Attach the air compressor to the base using screws and metal brackets
  2. Attach 2 solenoid valves to the base with hot glue.
  3. Attach the 3 H-Bridges to the base with hot glue
  4. Attach the breadboard, Bluetooth receiver, and Arduino Micro-controller to the base using hot glue
  5. Attach the air tubes to the solenoids and the air compressor
    1. Use a T-junction to divert the air from the compressor to both solenoids. Glue to base.
    2. Connect solenoids' and compressor's air tubes to the T-junction.
      1. Attach metal brackets to the tubes if needed to keep them connected

Step 4: Electronics

Picture of Electronics
  1. Use jumpers to connect the Bluetooth receiver to the Arduino Microcontroller
  2. Connecting the H-Bridges with jumpers.
    1. Connect the negative and the positive ends of one solenoid valve to their respective place on only one H-Bridge. Do this for both solenoids.
    2. Connect the negative and positive ends of the air compressor to their respective place on the last H-Bridge.
    3. Ground to the H-Bridges
      1. Line up all the ground jumpers for the H-bridges on the breadboard such that they all get connected to a jumper on the breadboard connecting to the Arduino's ground ports.
    4. Connect the WRB ports of the H-Bridges to Digital Ports on the Arduino..
      1. For example, if the H-bridge connected to the air compressor is at Digital Port 3, then the Arduino code should designate it as the following in the setup.
        1. compressor.attach(3);
  3. Connect the two solenoid valves' H-Bridges to a 12-V power plug.
  4. Connect the air compressor's H-Bridge to a 12-V power plug. Now there are two plugs that you have to plug to power the device.

Step 5: Programming for Arduino

Picture of Programming for Arduino

#include

// Declare the variables for the separate electronics

Servo leftvalve;

Servo pump;

Servo rightvalve;

// Variable for the function which inputs a character to control the device.

String readString;

// The setup designates the digital ports that each electronic component is connected to on the Arduino.

void setup() {

Serial.begin(9600);

leftvalve.attach(4);

rightvalve.attach(7);

pump.attach(11);

}

// The loop will constantly check for the user's input of a character. The character's actions will be determined by user-preset functions.

void loop() {

char c = Serial.read()

readString = c;

//******AIR BLADDER LEFT & RIGHT FILL******

if(readString.length() > 0) {

Serial.println(readString);

if(readString == "U") { // Character used is arbitrary. Can even be a phrase.

pump.write(1360); // The value to have the air compressor running at is dependent on the model

rightvalve.write(55); // Value is only high enough to open the solenoids. Dependent on model.

leftvalve.write(55); // Used same solenoids for both so same value.

delay(20);

}

}

// Repeat code but with different values based on which bladder is being filled.

//*****CLOSE BLADDER LEFT & RIGHT, MAINTAIN PRESSURE, STOP PUMP******

if(readString.length() >0){
Serial.println(readString);

if (readString == "C") {

pump.write (0); // No power, therefore no air being pumped.

leftvalve.write (0); // No power. Solenoid remains closed.

rightvalve.write(0); // No power. Solenoid remains closed.

delay(20);

}

}

//*****FILL LEFT BLADDER*****

if(readString.length() >0) {
Serial.println(readString);

if (readString == "L") {

leftvalve.write (55); // Only left bladder's solenoid open

pump.write(1250); // Turn on air compressor, fill

delay(20);

}

}

//****FILL RIGHT BLADDER*****

if(readString.length() >0) {
Serial.println(readString);

if (readString == "R") {

rightvalve.write (55); // Open only right solenoid, right bladder

pump.write(1260); // Pump air.

delay(20);

}

}

//******REMOVE AIR FROM BOTH BLADDERS, OPEN BOTH*****

if(readString.length() >0){
Serial.println(readString);

if (readString == "D") {

leftvalve.write (55); // Open left solenoid, allowing air to freely exit left bladder

rightvalve.write(55); // Open right solenoid.

delay(20);

}

}

}

Step 6: Final Setup

  1. Plug in the power plugs for the H-Bridges, set to 12 V
  2. Plug in power for the Arduino microcontroller
    1. Connect via USB to a computer with the Arduino code
    2. Upload the Arduino code to the microcontroller
  3. Turn on a Bluetooth capable phone
    1. Download any available Bluetooth Arduino Controller
    2. Map the controls to the characters you designated the preset functions to.
      1. Example: Map the left arrow to the left bladder fill's preset, which could have been to the character "L"
  4. Connect your phone to the Bluetooth receiver of the device.
  5. Control it!

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Bio: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, found on the campus of Bergen County Academies a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School ... More »
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