Brett and Sarah Peterson’s bike dashboard

Arduino Bikes Fun & Games
Brett and Sarah Peterson’s bike dashboard


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:


8 thoughts on “Brett and Sarah Peterson’s bike dashboard

  1. says:

    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?

    1. Erica K says:

      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.

  2. fian says:

    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.

  3. Wolf Band says:

    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.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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