Cykill – a Bike Powered Gaming Console




Introduction: Cykill – a Bike Powered Gaming Console


If you are eager to get fit but can't find the time or motivation – hack any console in this (possibly regrettable) way for fast results!

Cykill has been said to be America's BEST CHANCE at tackling child obesity.

The only way the gaming console will power on, is if you pedal the bike. Fail to pedal fast enough and Cykill will kill the power to your console. ☢ Possibilities of hard drive corruption ☢ Which should be enough motivation to keep you pedaling. (But don't worry, if you are concerned about wrecking your console's hard drive you can do the exact same hack to the tv/monitor instead)

It is a super super super super easy hack! Anyone can do it! All the work was in the code and that is already written for you ;)

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Viral on Imgur >200k views:

Originally released Sept 2016 as a publication on IDEO :

Project of the week on Maker Lab:

Arduino Blog:

Step 1: What You Need

Step 2: Intercept Signal From Bike Wheel

With most cheap exercise bikes you will find two wires traveling from the front bike wheel into the interface. We need to intercept those wires. So cut them! Then connect them to your circuit. In the photo you will see I just used simple jumper cables.

Step 3: Remove Existing Interface

Just tear it off. We don't need it. All we need are those two wires.

Step 4: Create Your Interface

The Interface includes:

  • Toggle button for Arduino on/off.
  • Toggle button for workout start/finish.
  • Potentiometer knob and LED bar for intensity.
  • Potentiometer knob and LED bar for duration.
  • LED ring to monitor speed.

My laser cut files are attached.

Even cardboard will work if you want something quick and scrappy.

Step 5: Build the Circuit

Neo Pixel LED Ring:

Neo Pixel LED Ring, Data __ ARDUINO PIN 2

Neo Pixel LED Ring, Gnd __ ARDUINO GROUND


Neo Pixel LED Bar, Data __ ARDUINO PIN 9

Neo Pixel LED Bar, Gnd __ ARDUINO GROUND

Intensity Potentiometer Signal __ ARDUINO PIN A0

Intensity Potentiometer Power __ ARDUINO POWER +5V

Intensity Potentiometer Gnd __ ARDUINO POWER GROUND


Neo Pixel LED Bar, Data __ ARDUINO PIN 10

Neo Pixel LED Bar, Gnd __ ARDUINO GROUND

Duration Potentiometer Signal __ ARDUINO PIN A1

Duration Potentiometer Power __ ARDUINO POWER +5V

Duration Potentiometer Gnd __ ARDUINO POWER GROUND

Power Switch Tail:

Power Switch Tail Pin 3 __ ARDUINO PIN 13

Power Switch Tail Pin 2 __ ARDUINO GROUND

Toggle Switch Start/Finish Workout:

Toggle Lead A __ ARDUINO PIN 8


Bike Pins:

Bike Pin 1 __ ARDUINO POWER +5V

Bike Pin 2 __ ARDUINO PIN A2 (add resistor shown in diagram)

Toggle Switch On/Off Arduino:

Splice the ground connection of the Arduino power adapter, and connect ground to both leads on this toggle switch. (Alternatively, you can just always leave the Aduino powered on if you want to skip this)

Step 6: Eliminate Temptation

It's time for commitment.

Cover the female end of the Power Switch Tail with glue. Plug the male end of the gaming console power cable into the Power Switch Tail.

Do the same with the gaming console power cable where it plugs into the console.

If your glue is strong enough, temptation should be eliminated.

Step 7: Upload the Code

Code is on github –

Code has five states:

  1. startup (initialization)
  2. input (dial workout)
  3. running (workout running)
  4. game over (console shutdown)
  5. done (workout complete)

You may need to make some edits to the "level_reduction" variable depending on the speed of your Microprocessor.

Step 8: Done!

Congratulations! You completed the Cykill hack!

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    15 Discussions

    This is so awesome. You should totally make, market, and sell this as a thing people can purchase. I'm a mechanical engineer and I totally followed along; I have no doubt I could (eventually) build this and get it working. I would still buy one. I like exercising and I like video games. I think that's pretty common.

    If you haven't looked into kickstarter or indiegogo, definitely check out launching a prototype there. Good luck!

    2 replies

    Thanks so much Luke. I feel the hack is so easy and affordable it is best suited as a opensource/DIY project.

    I agree with lukeg22woo! Turn it into a project on Kickstarter!

    Nice project. I really like the interface. What material did you use for the front panel? How did you create the blue type on it?

    1 reply

    Hey this is a really cool idea but why not just keep it simple and only plug the TV into it? No potential corruption issues that way. Not like you can play Xbox without the TV...Just a thought.

    2 replies

    It's a good fallback for sure. But I need the motivation of possible hard drive corruption. Keeps me pedaling fast. Like being chased by a bear, kinda.

    Suggestion 2, splice into the wires that tell the console to turn on. Easily done believe it or not. Considering you're using an arduino you could just interface with the motherboard. There should be a pair of pins, one is ground and the other when pulled low turns the console on or off. That way, it'd still turn the console off if you didn't pedal fast enough but it wouldn't corrupt anything because it'd turn off softly.

    This is amazing. Really, truly amazing. As an avid gamer and occasional cyclist I love this combination. I was actually tinkering with the idea of something very similar but rather than powering off the console my initial idea was to kill the video signal so as to prevent the afformentioned possible HDD corruption. Well done. Your idea gives me renewed hope in a project like this. Well written and easy to follow along with.

    This is awesome! I had an idea to do something similar while riding my exercise bike and watching TV - in the winter (Michigan). I'd much rather game than just watch TV but have lacked the knowledge behind the ability to pull something like this off without ruining the bike. Thanks for this great Instructable - will be developing soon!

    Interesting...Maybe the higher heart rate will result in altered reaction times.

    1 reply

    I don't know if it is gonna be longer or shorter.And is the name of the machine ,an anime referance?

    To help with hard drive corruption due to power loss, what about adding a battery that would only last maybe 30 seconds at most? You could also add in some beeps to let the person know that the power is about to be turned off.

    If the person finishes the workout, are they "rewarded" by letting them rest and have the power stay on longer, or do they really need to pedal the entire time? I know that I could pedal for a 20 or 30 min workout to start with, but I don't think I could for an hour if I decide to play that long.

    1 reply

    When you finish the workout, the code keep the console on for 5 mins for you to start another workout or shut down.