Social media apps such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram all rely on a feature known as infinite scrolling, wherein new content is always available simply by swiping down on the screen. When combined with their addictive nature, many people can suddenly realize they have been mindlessly browsing a feed for more than an hour without getting up to exercise or even stretch.
To combat this problem, Eric Guidry was inspired by a tweet from Simone Giertz where she said she wanted a treadmill that requires the user to run in order to scroll through TikTok, so he came up with a stationary bike add-on that does essentially the same thing. The person on the bike has to maintain a set speed until they are allowed to send inputs such as scroll up/down or like a video.
Guidry's project, called the PeloTok, uses an Arduino Micro to both read the current speed of the stationary bike and send commands. It is able to do this thanks to its ATmega32U4, which can appear as a full-speed USB device and act as a keyboard or mouse. It reads the speed of the bike's back tire with a magnet and a hall effect sensor while also displaying it on an I2C OLED screen. Finally, a set of three buttons and a buzzer allow for the rider to interact with the system.
The speed of the stationary bike is calculated with two different variables: the size of the tire and how many rotations it makes in a period of time. The number of rotations can be incremented by reading the pin connected to the hall effect sensor and checking if it has gone high. Multiplying this value by the circumference of the tire will yield the speed, and a quick conversion gives the value in kph.
Before the user can begin cycling, they must first connect the Arduino Micro to an iPad that has full keyboard access enabled and has been had the TikTok app installed. From here, the PeloTok add-on will display the current speed on the OLED screen and only illuminate the three arcade buttons once it has passed 16kph. Otherwise, a button press will result in a loud beep from the buzzer. To see this project in more detail, you can watch Guidry's video here on YouTube.