Brett and Sarah Peterson won Nokia’s Push N900 “Mod in the USA” competition with his bike dashboard:

Way back in September I heard about the Nokia PUSH N900 global competition. I had been drooling over pictures and all the info I could find about the phone and thought, “Finally! This is my chance to get one!” I started brainstorming ideas.

I had recently built a fixie bike from a frame I found on craigslist (It’s awesome – green Japanese roadbike with some sort of Phoenix on one of the tubes), and various parts I bought from local bike shops. I really loved riding my bike everywhere I could! My wife Sarah and I would bike to the farmer’s market, out to eat, etc. I decided it would be awesome to have a kind of dashboard for my bike with info about the ride.

The way I approached this was to think of everything that I wanted in a dashboard, and then figure out what I thought was actually feasible. First, I knew I wanted some data. Speed and distance were a must; Cadence would be cool, but as a casual bike rider, not critical. I wanted a map showing the route we took. I wanted to have lights that I could control from the phone, a horn to honk back at cars that cut us off. I wanted to integrate the camera to quickly take pictures and maybe even have a video of the ride.

I started to sketch everything up in my Maker Notebook. I love this thing – graph paper is by far my favorite of the lined varieties and this has a great grid layout. Here’s my first design:


Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern ( is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).


    I hate to criticize, But I’m going to anyway, sorry.

    I get most of this from the GPS I keep mounted on my handlebars, and it comes in a smaller form-factor that I can easily quick-release and toss in my pocket when my bicycle is parked.
    I can easily switch between this sort of dashboard style display and a moving map with the touch of a button.

    It doesn’t connect up to my headlamp, but on the other hand, my headlamp has it’s own button that’s lag-free.

    I guess what I’m asking here, is what’s the advantage of this over an off-the-shelf GPS designed for biking?

    • Erica K

      I don’t think it will put Garmin out of business, but a) this is incredibly cool, and b) a bike computer that can do all these functions is quite expensive. Reusing your cell phone makes a lot of sense and is pleasing on an aesthetic level too.

  • fian

    I’ve had a similar design idea including utilising bluetooth to connect the sensors to a phone mounted on the handle bars kicking around in my head for a while. One thing I haven’t fully checked out is whether the phone can connect to multiple bluetooth devices at the same time.

    As well as receiving sensor input I would like to listen to music from the phone via bluetooth headphones. Anyone know if this is possible? Might prompt me to finally upgrade my phone handset :)

    I already carry a phone for music, digital camera and in case of emergency when I ride, so getting the phone to do more means no more dedicated bike computer, no need to carry a dedicated GPS etc etc. Also the phone has much more storage capacity than a lot of expensive HRMs and cycle computers so you can store data in more detail and/or for much longer sessions.

  • Wolf Band

    That unnamed… umm… “fixie bike” with the rear brake in the video is a cheapo Republic you can get from Urban Plagiarizers for $400. The headsets have plastic bearings and the threading in the rear hub strips in about a month. They’re a goddamn joke. Not nearly as fancy as something green and Japanese.