Scanning the landscape while riding a bicycle usually involves taking video manually, which can be a distraction unless the rider has mounted a GoPro camera. Grabbing images of beautiful landscapes during a trip is a great way to document a ride, but unfocused attention while riding can be hazardous. Celian Cherrier is one of those bicycle enthusiasts who like to capture landscapes and created his Bike Embedded Landscape Scanner (BELS) to document them on the go, allowing him to maintain situational awareness.
Cherrier designed the BELS system using a Raspberry Pi 3B+, a Pi Camera v2, a reed switch/magnate, and a 20mAh power bank, all packed within a 3D printed, carbon fiber enclosure. The device clamps onto a bicycle seat with the reed switch mounted to the bottom frame next to the rear wheel. The switch is used to measure the RPMs while biking, which the Pi uses to scan landscapes. The system is similar to a line scan camera and generates single vertical frames based on the bike’s speed. The steadier the rider peddles, the better the images are. Speed up or slow down, and the camera will generate slightly irregular images that appear wavy, as the framerate only updates every 3600 revolutions of the wheel. The same with turning or traveling around corners, but remaining in a straight line produces the best images.
Once the images have been captured, users can transfer them to a USB drive and process them on a PC in the H.264 format. Cherrier notes that the room inside the case can be used for additional components, such as adding sensors for speed, temperature, sound and even incorporating an OLED display. Cherrier has uploaded a detailed walkthrough of his project for those interested in recreating his build.