Bodywork — August 10, 2017


Over the last few weeks the team has made a load of progress on the frame for our bike, which will keep the batteries and touchscreen safe and make the bike look really cool. Our goal for this project has always been to re-use as much as possible so that we keep the cost and the environmental impact as low as possible. So far we bought a cheap bike from Trade Me and to start the frame we’ve used strips of old cardboard from the graphics department at school. Below is a photo of the makeshift exoskeleton we made:

bike frame.jpg

Then we used paper maché over the outside made from old newspaper, reinforced with a bit of fibreglass to give the  frame some strength and rigidity.
Then we went over the frame with builders putty and filled in any areas that had holes or dents in them.
Finally we created plastic light housings where the lights such as indicators and brake lights would go.
Looking pretty awesome, but we still have a sponsor sticker to put on, and a coat of paint. Lets do this!


Let me introduce you to Kivy — July 17, 2017

Let me introduce you to Kivy

Kivy is the python framework we’re using to get the rider’s touch to do things in real life, such as turning the lights on or off. Python, unlike HTML & CSS is usually not accosiated with good looks or good user experiences.

An example of a python program. You have to type in what you want to do, like “turn on lights”

This text format doesn’t work well on a motorcycle when you need to turn the lights on, or quickly view how fast you’re going. We wanted something that would be visual and allow the rider get information like speed with just a glance, or turn on a light with just a tap. Seems obvious right?

Kivy vs TkInter

There’s two main frameworks for python that allow you to make interfaces, we chose Kivy because it works great on a raspberry pi, and supports touchscreen really well with things like swipes, and taps without showing a mouse cursor (you know, like how touchscreens should work. Basically, TkInter would turn our interface into an in-flight entertainment system. Not exactly what we want.


However, Kivy is pretty complex and will take a bit of time for William, Callum and I to learn which is the most daunting thing, as Evolocity is due in November. The most complex part is doing a toucghscreen interface, as well as interacting with the GPIO pins on the raspberry pi, and there currently isn’t much a community for doing so, other than this awesome tutorial:

Some awesome news…

Callum and I managed to get the ultrasonic sensor working inside of the Raspberry pi! Currently it doesn’t work inside kivy to display realtime results but that is the goal. Check it out here:

Our new parts arrived! — July 4, 2017

Our new parts arrived!

Hey there!

With the help from our sponsors PSC as I mentioned in my last post, we were able to buy a bunch of parts for the bike. There’s an awesome online store based in New Zealand called Mindkits which is where we ordered them from. To rattle a couple things off we got:

  • A hall sensor to detect the speed of the bike
  • Ultrasonic sensors for measuring speed
  • 4 LED light strips (front, rear, and both sides of indicators)
  • The raspberry pi touch display (ships next month)
  • The raspberry pi official 8mp camera
  • Breadboards,
  • Battery packs

All of this gear will allow us to create the touchscreen interface we desired, and again this would not be possible without PSC’s generosity! Thanks to them!

School holiday is coming up, and I’m going on a trip to the states with my digital tech class to visit all the big silicon valley companies and I know a bunch of the boys are also going. This means no updates for 3 weeks, Ciao!

The Big Update — June 30, 2017

The Big Update

Hey readers!

Today I have something awesome to announce. As you may well know, we want to do a lot of cool stuff with this bike project and we aren’t just doing the bare minimum. Our aspiraitional ideas like the touchscreen, and even basic parts for the bike don’t come cheap, so we needed to find a sponsor who were willing to give students a chance to do something awesome and learn along the way. We were looking for a sponsor who was involved in the electric industry so that we could learn from them and get their best people helping us out.

I found out through a family friend that a guy named Tony Armstrong was very interested in electric vehicles, and had recently taken a trip over to america to see Tesla’s factory! What a dream. I immediately emailed Tony with our sponsorship pitch and asked him and his company PSC – Power Systems Consultants – if they wanted to jump on board with this project we’re doing.

I got a reply within 48 hours from Robyn who told me that PSC would love to be our sponsors. How awesome is that!? We now have the resources to be able to execute on our touchscreen device and to afford the materials and tools we need to frankenstien our bike, and are going to immediately buy the touchscreen and sensors for the bike. We could not be more pleased to get a global company on board with our idea, and even one in the electronics industry. No doubt we’ll find a great mentor at PSC who can help our ideas come to life.

Thanks for believing in us, Tony, Robyn and the rest of the team at PSC! It really means a lot.

Hard at work — June 14, 2017

Hard at work

We finally sourced our new mountain bike from TradeMe. It’s a small womens bike but it’ll do the job nicely. We immediately set to work modifying it, the first step was to remove the seat and attach a new one that was lower. We also had to remove the handlebars and the excess bar sticking out the front, and we had to attach leg rests so that the riders legs had somewhere to be.



Top: Artyom riding the bike without any modifications

Middle: The bike with the new seat, modified handlebars and leg rests

Bottom: Me sitting on the finished product.

The Tesla idea — May 11, 2017

The Tesla idea

Recently we’ve been experimenting with “smart features” which would help us gain points for the innovation category of the Evlocity competition. Throughout this project we’ve thought a lot about Tesla and just how cool that company is. The touchscreen in the centerpiece of the car – we decided – was one of the coolest bits about them. It’s a great advancement to a normal centerpiece of a car and means that controls can be changed in the future.

If radio dies off?

Tesla can remove it from the car.

We’ve taken a lot of ideas from the tesla touchscreen display and we want to see if we can manage something like it. Ideally the features that would be useful (and achievable) are:

  • Speed monitoring
  • Obstacle avoidance sensors
  • Reversing camera
  • Light controls

I had been personally researching how we could implement something like this into our . bike and learn a bunch along the way. Originally I thought we could buy an old android tablet and attatch that to the front of the bike. A couple problems arose: How would it measure speed? How could that work with sensors? Could the rider control the lights? How can we make a custom app?

It didn’t seem like the most ideal way to go about things, so I thought about alternatives. A windows pc with a touchscreen would have the same drawbacks, we needed something that could control sensors and turn on lights.

That’s when I remembered raspberry pi and arduino! If you haven’t heard of a raspberry pi, it’s basically a computer the size of a credit card running a low power chip and linux. I used to work with these boards a lot when I was younger, hacking together clever costumes for halloween and pranking my friends with shocking devices. The raspberry pi was the perfect device for doing all of this, it had it’s own touchscreen and camera you could buy and plug in, and all the sensors we wanted to use would work thanks to the GPIO pins on-board – it was perfect.


I quickly went out and bought myself the latest Raspberry pi, because even if we ran into troubles with it down the road I still wanted to be able to do cool projects again. When I was into raspberry pi 5 years ago it was a whole different world, not many people were using it and there weren’t many cool projects to do. That’s all changed now.

Brand new idea — May 5, 2017

Brand new idea

We decided to change our approach to the bike. We wanted a frame that the rider could sit in and be very low to the ground for aerodynamics, but we figured that with the current frame this would be structurally very hard to do, and wouldn’t look quite the way we wanted.

So, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a new render of the bike that could fit inside a normal mountain bike frame. We wouldn’t be trying to make the wheel, we’d be stripping down a current bike bit-by-bit until the rider could be as low as possible while respecting the space that the batteries and motor require. This was the design style the Industrial design team had come up with, which was then checked over by Cy and Edward who made sure that the motor and batteries would still have enough space. Callum and I helped the ID team come up with a render for the touchscreen user interface. From now on, this is our guideline.


WelTec 2nd build day! —

WelTec 2nd build day!

Today we went to the WelTec 2nd build day. We realised that we really needed to extend the frame in order to fit a person inside the frame. We went about doing some math and physics in order to determine the length of the bar we would need to add. Also, we had to make the angle of the front wheel a little lower, which meant that it’s harder to turn – but that was just a sacrifice the team decided to make.


This picture shows Cy sanding the paint from the bike in order to weld the second support bar into the bike. We’re still worried that the distance between the lower bar and the higher one won’t be enough to make it stable and not collapse under the rider’s weight, but we’ll just have to see!

This is our bike! — March 22, 2017

This is our bike!

First update! Today we sourced an old bike that hadn’t been used for over 30 years. It’s a really nice relic – unfortunately we completely frankenstiened it. We cut off the seat and the top bar. Our goal was to be able to fit a person in between the wheelbase – really low – we totally achieved that, the hard part would be to keep them there


We also wanted the handlebars to be far lower down for easier turning and agility, since one of the obstacles/challenges in the competition day is to be able to swerve in between cones.

From here, we’re going to need to mount the holders for the shins, and add a seat for the rider’s butt. We’re also going to need to attach the handlebars to the front wheel.

WelTec first build day! — March 7, 2017

WelTec first build day!

Hello everyone,

This is the first post for the Scots Evelocity group. We’ve created a blog to keep our mentors and potential sponsors in the loop, as well as the general public so that everyone can see the stage we’re up to.

We’re really excited to share this journey with you, and it starts here at WelTec. We drove out 2 mornings ago to get introduced to everything Evelocity – we saw the kit we’re going to use for the first time, and were introduced to Les Black – the man in charge. He’s a really nice guy who can tell you anything and everything you need to know about the mechanics and electronics of the project we’re about to do.

On this first build day we were tasked with turning an old bicycle into an Electric bike using the kit provided. This proved to be a nice challenge for the team and I got to finally see the boys in action – they’re like machines! Each person had a different set of skills that really helped us eat through the challenge. We had completed our bike within an hour and we were the first team to get riding!