Thursday, January 06, 2011

Bikes. They're Not Just For Bikes Anymore.

Hackable. Open-source. Not usually phrases attached to bikes. But this is the age of Velosynth. Coming from EFFALO, a maker collective (EFFALO was chartered to synthesize, modulate, and deploy multimodal interaction environments that promote expressive feedback between humans, nature and technology)out of Portland, Velosynth is a bike gear add-on that  converts multiple inputs from your cycling experience into data read by a synthesizer. As John Lennon said; "Strange days indeed."
There's an excellent short article at the synthgear website, and the velosynth preview video should be embedded below.

velosynth release#001 from velosynth on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Bicycle Kitchen for Walker Repairs

Bicycle Kitchens Rock!
Well, we knew that. We knew that for certain when a Bike Kitchen was set up at the Student Union Building at the University of Victoria. We've been on the UVic campus, scooting around with a friend and her kids on bikes, and made darn sure to get everybody over to the SUB. There's the Bike Kitchen, with clamps and pressurized air, and all sorts of tools tethered to the posts.
Today we found another use for the Bike Kitchen: doing maintenance on a walker. Nope, not a pedestrian -- the wheeling frame that some people use for support when walking. Celu's walker had developed an annoying squeak in the front wheels after the December snowfall. When she mentioned it, Bernie's talents at tuning up bicycles got mentioned also. Could he possibly oil the squeak? He turned up on campus to meet her for tea, with some tools and a couple kinds of bike chain oil (I'm not sure what all was in his knapsack).
It was great, to see him take each of the four wheels off Celu's walker, clean them, lube them, and put them back. Who would have thought that walkers could get maintenance as simply as bikes? Hot damn! Three cheers for human powered transportation, in yet another form!