Taking it to the Streets

Got something to say? With this SMS-printing bike, anyone can leave a message in New York.

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Dept.: You Built What?!

Tech: Message-spraying bike

Cost: $200 (excluding bike, laptop and cell)

Time: 6 months

Josh Kinberg just finished his master’s thesis and hit Print. It read only “I Love New York.” His adviser loved it.

Of course, Kinberg’s degree is an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design in New York City, and his thesis is a bicycle that receives text messages and prints them in foot-high chalk letters, then onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>blogs (click on a blue word for its definition) a digital photo and GPS map of the printing, all while the rider cruises along.

A self-described “hacktivist,” Kinberg’s other school projects have included Magicbike (a mobile onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>Wi-Fi hotspot he and a professor take to outdoor cultural events) and the Hello
World Project, which let people laser-project their own messages onto landscapes and landmarks all over the world.

Kinberg will officially roll out the bike during August’s Republican National Convention in New York, but he says the project is as much performance art as protest. The project homepage can be found at bikesagainstbush.com. See video of it in action in onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=360,width=360,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>QuickTime or Real Video.

FROM WEB TO STREET

1. Nokia 3650 cellphone receives a text message sent from Kinberg’s site. If the rider wants to print it, he sends it via onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>Bluetooth to a Powerbook.

2. onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>AppleScript and onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>Perl code translate each letter into a 5-by-5 dot-matrix pattern and send onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>binary code to a black box containing a onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>BASIC stamp microcontroller.

3. Code is translated into high- or low-voltage signals, and sent via homemade serial cable to five relay switches housed in a custom-made Plexiglas box.

4. Relays fire onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>electromagnetic solenoids, powered by a 12-V onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>gel cell battery.

5. Solenoid pistons trigger nozzles on inverted spray-chalk aerosol cans to blast out a dot. The rate of fire adjusts automatically based on the rider’s speed.

6. GPS device captures the position of the sprayed message, and the onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>webcam snaps a pic; both are uploaded through the cellphone’s onClick=”window.open(”,’popup1′,’height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes’)” target=”popup1″ class=”sidebar”>GPRS to a blog.