Sound Effects on a Bicycle


I’m sketching ideas for a sound system to attach to my two-person recumbent bicycle.  Clearly it needs great sounds to go with the amazing lights!  The lights are one long ribbon of RGB LEDs which slowly cycle through a rainbow of colors.  The photo below shows the bike on the playa at Burning Man 2010 just after sunset on Thursday night.  A 12V battery is stored safely in the Rubbermaid® bin behind the seats. 

My husband, Greg, on our 4 wheel bicycle for 2 peddlers

We plan to add a small microcontroller which will allow the lights to change in a wide variety of patterns depending on our mood.  Fast flashes, quick colors chasing, a pulsing red heartbeat, or moody fades of blues and greens. 

What kind of sounds?  Our first idea is animal sounds.  I want to find that old toy, the See ‘n Say, where you pull the string and “The cow says moo!”  The See ‘n Say is an amazingly durable toy based on the gramophone from the late 1800’s!  No batteries, just pull a string and a metal needle runs along the grooves in a plastic disk (like a record) to play the sounds on a diaphragm.  You can read more about how the See ‘n Say works at the How Stuff Works site. Unfortunately, the pull-string and gramophone technology was replaced by batteries and a microchip in the 1990’s.  I doubt that I can find a collectible 1980’s era See ‘n Say at Goodwill. 

My goal is to build the sound system out of cheap or recycled parts.  The microchips from recently discarded toys might be fun, or perhaps a new sound chip that I can program with sounds from the internet.  I don’t have a cow that I could record.

Atari Punk Console Kit for making weird sounds

In addition to animal sounds, I also want some Atari video game sounds.  For that, I’m buying a kit from Dorkbot Seattle as part of their annual Kit Night fundraiser.  Dorkbot Seattle  made a bulk order of kits from the MakerShed and are selling them at a slight markup.  I purchased the Atari Punk Console Kit  and my husband ordered the Lux Spectralis Kit .  We will solder the kits at Jigsaw Renaissance on Wednesday.  Then we will make videos of  annoying our cat with blinky lights and weird sounds on Thursday.  LOL

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About Christin

I build robots as a hobby and I work with software as my career. Last year I mentored a FIRST Robotics team, Team XBot. I worked at Microsoft for 11 years in such roles as developer tech support, Developer Evangelist, and Program Manager in Visual Studio.
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