As STEM majors, we spend a whole lot of time behind screens and on seats. Which we love. Unfortunately, our cardiovascular systems do not. The dreaded Freshman 15 await those who maintain a sedentary lifestyle, a tragedy which no one deserves to be a victim of, but few actively avoid. So we love the Internet, but that love can be a little costly for our health. What could we use to incentivize activity? Something we hate, very much. Pop-ups. Now if walking could make those pop-ups go away...no more sitting still if you want to watch your 15th binge-spree episode of Friends. And as you take your walk and watch your shows (or do your project you've had weeks to do in the day before it's due), you'll enjoy not only better health (lower life insurance premiums anyone?), but increased cognition and creative thinking ability. Able to get your work done faster, we'll be able to design even more effective hamster wheels, which will increase our intelligence even more, and the feedback loop of superintelligence will allow us to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
p.s. We'd like to thank our giant hamster overlords for not eating us, as they sometimes do to their children.
What it does
As the user walks on the treadmill, the wheel turns a motor that produces an electrical signal. The signal is then read by the Arduino and fed into our Processing program. The voltage from the motor is used to gauge the speed the user is walking at. As a result, the Processing program displays a set number of pop-ups depending on the voltage output from the motor. As the user walks faster, the voltage increases and the number of pop-ups decreases. As the user walks slower, the voltage decreases and number of pop-ups increases to encourage them to walk faster. This system encourages users to walk at an accelerated pace, ensuring that they are at least maintaining their starting level of fitness. It also provides a working surface for a computer, writing, or anything else you may find yourself using a desk for.
How we built it
The inspiration behind the form of our device comes from an Instructable, and we used the base of those plans to get our design off the ground. Given the tools we had at the Dallas Makerspace, we had to significantly modify the design to allow it to be made in in 24 hours and also be structurally sound to survive 20 miles of transit by car. Using SolidWorks, we designed most of the parts to be cut by a computer-controlled router table. This not only saved us time which we needed to drill the 300 holes and cut the 48 slats that makes up the walking surface, but gave us the ability to design the wheel with flair and beautiful curves.
Challenges we ran into
-delaying bandwidth - the original plan for the hamster wheel. -transporting the wood -transporting the wheel -getting the wheel inside
Accomplishments that we're proud of
-Completing a massive electromechanical project in a day -The aesthetic design of the wheel -Making something which is obviously useful for any working person -Learning a heck of a lot about sensor feedback -Did we mention building a HUGE HUMAN HAMSTER WHEEL!?
What we learned
-4x8 plywood is VERY heavy -Automated machines aren't always better than doing things the old fashioned way (Trying to 3D print wheels for the large hamster wheel to roll on wasted a lot of our time) -Network routing is a bit more complicated than we thought -An 86 inch wooden circle is actually very large -Coordinating code, electrical, and mechanical construction is very difficult, especially when workplaces are 20 miles apart
What's next for MXMC
We have this enormous hamster wheel now--next, we want to take advantage of the electrical side, and use real-time sensor feedback and the cloud to keep a metric of a person's activity, and therefore their overall health. This could be tied into an app which communicates this information to an insurance agency, which could positively adjust a user's insurance premiums, track physical therapy progress, or anything else involving walking data.