Illustration for article titled Google Earth Flying Bicycle Doesnt Include Basket, E.T.

Elliott-wannabe Mike Kay has wired his mountain bike to Google Earth's flight simulator mode to travel all around the world while he exercises. He used a Sun Microsystem SunSPOT, a Java-programmable wireless sensor equipped with an accelerometer and a bank of pins to connect it to the other controls. The system is simple, and it works perfectly, as you can see in the video.


Mike placed the SunSPOT on the base of the handlebar, then connected it to the other sensors. On the top, next to the handles, you can see two sticks connected to potentiometers, which are used to control the bike's ailerons. If you turn the handlebar left or right, you simulate the rudder control. When you move it back and forth, it simulates how the yoke works, pitching the bike down or—if men in black with guns appear—up and away. For throttle, there's a photosensor on the mountain bike's back wheel, which can sense the rotation speed.


All this information gets transmitted to the SunSPOT, which has a custom Java program that talks to Google Earth on your computer, allowing you to fly across the sky looking for UFO landing sites. [Google Earth Blog]

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