Monday, May 19, 2014

Skateboards and Microcontrollers

Because you can regularly see skateboards on the streets of Humboldt, the recent article in Gizmag about the Syrmo motion tracker caught my eye.

Miniaturization has made it possible to put sensors and embedded computers just about anywhere these days, including on skateboards. As it says in the Gizmag article:
"...A group of skaters from Buenos Aires, Argentina feel there's much to gain by tracking flips and spins and have developed Syrmo, a motion tracker that fits discreetly underneath the trucks to gauge everything from air time to the force of your ollie...With an accelerometer, gyroscope, microcontroller and Bluetooth 4.0 module built-in, the device is designed to replace the riser, a pad that some skateboarders will place underneath the trucks to make the board a little higher off the ground. Adding just 1 mm to the height of the board and weighing 50 g (1.7 oz), the company is confident riders won't notice a difference when riding with the device attached to their board..."
The Syrmo team recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them finish the software and to move from the prototyping stage to full scale manufacturing.

As expected, a Google search showed there are other skateboard+microcontroller projects out there.

Here's one with a PIC microcontroller and some LED 'headlights' and 'taillights.'

The E-Skate project has a detailed eight page pdf describing a college senior project to design and build an electric skateboard. The project presented in the E-Skate pdf used an Atmel ATmega328p microcontroller. The Arduino Uno also uses an ATmega 328 MCU. Maybe an HSU student will read the pdf and decide to build an E-Skate to zoom around the streets of Arcata. The picture to the right is a University of Central Florida electric skateboard senior project from a couple years ago from this video.

If someone wanted to design and build an electric skateboard in our area, I'm sure the Humboldt Microcontrollers Group would have fun providing assistance with the microcontroller part of the project.


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