In addition to the plethora of apps and utilities current smartphones can offer, they can be further customized to aid us with various daily routines, such as starting and stopping the engine of a scooter or popping open the seat latch. That’s exactly what Brad Nelson, an ingenious Android smartphone owner who also happens to be a Kymco ZX50 scooter driver, did. He customized his scooter to respond to gesture-based commands issued from his Motorola Droid 4 via Bluetooth. Thus, the Bluition, or a Bluetooth Scooter Ignition was born.
The home-made Android application / scooter tweak is shown in the video below, and while there’s certain lag involved when passing on the commands from the Droid 4 via Bluetooth, the scooter will start the engine, stop it, and pop open the seat compartment.
The whole project cost from $75 to $100, as various parts had to be purchased and installed in the scooter in order to control it from the smartphone. Besides the three-weekend job to customize the wiring of the scooter and make sure everything works properly, Nelson also had to program the Android smartphone to respond to his gestures and send them to the scooter.
Here’s how it all works:
• My Droid 4 runs a program called Tasker. Tasker is an AMAZING program that can run applications or other actions given specific events or states. I’ve put instructions for it to call a specific Python script given a specific gesture is detected.
• Python for Android provides a very simple scripting system. It was amazing how few lines of code were needed to open up a Bluetooth connection and send commands to the bluetooth module on the scooter.
• An RN-42 Bluetooth module from SparkFun receives the commands from the Android phone. The commands include instructions to set GPIO pins high or low.
• The RN-42 outputs are then connected to MOSFET drivers, which in turn drive mechanical relays. Again, SparkFun parts.
• The mechanical relays are connected into the scooter ignition, starter as well as a solenoid that pops opens the seat lid.
• The solenoid was purchased from SparkFun also. While it provides precious little force, I managed to eek just enough out of it to pop the scooter seat lid (which encloses the glove/helmet storage compartment) by connecting the solenoid plunger to the connector up through a bowden cable.
• And foot bone is connected to the knee bone…
In case you have similar home-made smartphone-based projects give us a nod, as we’re certainly interested to see similar endeavors!
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