Runner's Aide

Are you a pro runner? Do you have trouble perfecting your step technique? Then you should try the Runner's Aide! This easy to build device delivers feedback on your steps, allowing you to easily get that fancy footwork down. All for less than $30. Some soldering knowledge required.

Step 1: Get Materials

I'd recommend getting the stuff you'll need before you need it. You'll only need about 2 uncommon items, the rest are fairly easy to come across.
Uncommon Stuff:

- NodeMCU (x1) ($5)

- Pressure Sensors [Specifically the Square Force-Sensitive Resistor (FSR) Interlink 406] ($18 for 2)

- USB to MicroUSB Converter (x1) ($3)

Common Stuff:

- Male-Female Wires (x4 Minimum, x12 recommended for length) ($2 for 20)

- Solder ($5 for a roll)

- {Optional} Breadboard ($5 for 1)

Step 2: Some Assembly Required

Alright, you've got all your stuff together, it's time to assemble this thing. All you really need to do is solder the male ends of the 4 wires to the collective 4 prongs on the pressure sensors. Each pressure sensor has 2 prongs, one in and one out. With the gray face of the pressure sensor face-up, the output is on the left, and the input is on the right. WARNING: Be careful not to solder the 2 prongs together. Doing so will short the circuit and render the sensor ineffective. Once you have your 4 wires hanging off your 2 sensors, it's time to plug them in!

Step 3: Where to Stick Those

You've soldered your wires, and now it's time to put 'em in their places. For the purposes of instruction, I am going to assign each wire a color and reference them based off color. Your colors will almost surely vary. On pressure sensor one, we have the red wire coming out the output (remember: the left side when the gray face is up) and the yellow wire coming out the input. On pressure sensor two, we have the green wire coming out the output and the blue wire coming out the input. Pressure sensor one is going to be put in the front of the shoe, and pressure sensor two is going to be put in the back of the shoe. Use the female ends of the wires to connect them to the underbelly of the NodeMCU - they should stick well. Connect the red wire to D1 - GPIO 5, the yellow wire to ground. Connect the green wire to D2 - GPIO 6, and the blue wire to ground. Finally, connect the USB to microUSB converter from your computer/laptop to the NodeMCU. Nicely done, now it's time for code.

Step 4: Prepare for Code

You'll need a few pieces of software to fully utilize this project: Visual Studio Code, Python, and PuTTY. Get Visual Studio Code here. Get PuTTY here. Get Python (Version 2.7.15) here. Once you have these installed, load up this code (runnersAideCode) in Visual Studio Code. Save the file to your desktop as final.py. Use the view tab at the top to open the terminal if it is not already open, and type or paste these commands in this order - if any of them fail, troubleshoot it before moving on to the next command.

1. pip install adafruit-ampy

2. cd desktop

3. ampy -p COM3 -d 0.5 put final.py

Next, open up PuTTY. You'll need to alter a few settings, so follow along closely. Change the connection type from SSH to Serial. Change the Baud to 115200. Change the serial line to COM3. Finally, click "open."

Inside PuTTY, we need to do a few more things. Type the following commands out exactly as written (without the numerals, of course):

1. import final

2. final.finalProject()

And you should have it! The code should now be reading any inputs you give the sensors. Play around with them and get a feel for how the code responds. Next we'll be inserting the sensors inside the shoe.

Step 5: A Shoe-In

Well, everything works. Now you just need to put the sensors in the shoe. Place the front sensor in the front of the shoe and the rear sensor in the rear. I'd recommend placing them above the sole for the best readings, but if they keep slipping you can raise the sole and stick them underneath. Now run!

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    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    2 months ago

    Cool. Microcontrollers can make anything better. Even exercise.