NAU’s smart bike technology can detect damaged lanes

FLAGSTAFF – A team of Northern Arizona University engineering students and professors have created a smart bike tech sensor that connects to a bike to detect dips and bumps in lanes, identifying pavement and dirt in need of repair.

The prototype, housed in two small black boxes fixed above the bike’s rear wheel, sends the information to an app on the rider’s phone, which connects to a wider network that local municipalities can access to schedule repairs. cycle paths and increase bicycle safety.


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The team hopes its instrumented bicycle project will lead to increased bicycle use in the United States, which is not known for its widespread daily bicycle commuting.

“We kind of have this category of cyclists that we call ‘interested but concerned’, or maybe they’re interested in using a bike, but they don’t if they don’t feel safe,” said Brendan Russo, associate professor. civil engineering at NAU who worked on the Capstone project – which means that for some team members, it is the culmination of their educational career.

An Android and an Apple iPhone rest in phone holders on a bike inside an electrical engineering lab on the University of Northern Arizona campus in Flagstaff on April 1, 2022. A team of ‘electrical engineering students, led by Professor Chun-Hsing Jun Ho, has developed applications on the two mobile platforms to detect problems with cycle paths. (Photo by Troy Hill/Cronkite News)

The idea was born when the team members, which is a mix of graduate and undergraduate students, noticed that cars and other vehicles were equipped with such sensor systems, and they wondered why there isn’t. did not exist for bicycles. For example, Ford Motor Co., Detroit, and Tactile Mobility Company use touch sensors to map city streets and locate potholes.

“We thought it would be a very good opportunity for us to start a project on how to connect bicycles to build a network for cyclists,” said Chun-Hsing Jun Ho, professor of civil engineering and head of the team.

The team is researching ways to integrate the sensors into bicycle design and is looking for a company to manufacture the sensors.

Troy Hill Story, Cronkite News