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Kicked to the curb: the Doomercycle

doomercycle bikemouse

Today is garbage day (and a very happy garbage day to you). This week’s Casualty of the Week: the Doomercycle.

Let’s see. Doom was released in 1993, so it was maybe thirteen years ago I wondered if I could cross-breed a bike with a mouse and come up with a way to get some exercise while fragging zombies. (Whoop! There it goes. I just heard a door slam and looked up to see the Doomercycle ride off into the sunset. That didn’t take long. G’bye…! <snf>)


See, one variety of mouse works like this: it’s got two little spoked wheels inside, one for uppy-downy and one for sidey-sidey. When the mouseball moves, it turns those wheels. Each wheel has an LED on one side and a sensor on the other. So when the wheel turns, spokes interrupt the light, and the sensor sees blink-blink-blink and it knows you’re moving.

That wouldn’t be quite good enough. That would tell the sensor how fast you were moving, but not in which direction. Each wheel actually has two sensors; when it sees AB-AB-AB it knows you’re moving forward, and BA-BA-BA means you’re going backward.

I thought…spokes. Wheels. What if you took the uppy-downy wheel, and put the sensor on one side of a real bicycle wheel and the light on the other? That would give you running forward and backward, all you need for Doom. You could perch the keyboard on the handlebars for all the other commands. I went to Starvation Army and picked up the used exercise bike you see above for $15.

It took a couple of tries, but as it turned out, no soldering was necessary. I was kinda bummed, to tell you the truth. It was too easy. See, there was a little socket where an odometer or something used to go, and all I had to do was jam the mouse’s own uppy-downy wheel into it, and duct tape the circuit board in place around it. Voilà!

I had feared all along there would be a scale problem; that the wheel would move too fast and overwhelm the sensor. But, no…it worked eerily well, right out of the gate. It recognized slow, fast and in-between. It played a kick-ass game of Doom.

I can’t say as I got miles of exercise out of it, though. In order for the wires to reach, all the components were balanced precariously against each other. Too much enthusiasm would’ve put a handlebar through my monitor, or sent me ass over teakettle into the radiator. Eventually, I used it with a laptop balanced across the bars, but that was VERY insecure. It needed a sturdy platform or something, but the proof-of-concept was enough to scratch my itch. Then laptops stopped having serial port and that was that.

But it worked! So nuts to my boss, who laughed! And, dammit, my electric sneakers would’ve worked, too! I’m sure of it!


Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 20, 2007, 7:40 pm

I’d be stringy and muscular enough to run Lance Armstrong into the dirt if I’d had a Doomercycle. Sheesh, I’ve worn out two keyboards wacking cacodemons over the years.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 20, 2007, 7:44 pm

Electronic sneakers!? I hope they involved high voltage!

Don’t tell me! – – – I want my imagination to run wild for a while.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 20, 2007, 7:48 pm

BTW: That two-sensor-per-mousewheel trick to get speed and direction (CW or CCW) is a classic one-latch circuit. We used to use it to quiz prospective new-hires back in the late 70’s and 80’s. It separated the wannabe design engineer “men” from the “boys”.

I think HP originally invented it. That’s where I saw it first, anyway.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 21, 2007, 10:18 am

And electric shoes would be used…. ah-HAH! To get down to (Electric Avenue!)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2007, 12:13 pm

FRENCH DOCTOR PRESCRIBES VIAGRA FOR CONVICTED PAEDOPHILE. He was a prison doctor, too, though he says he didn’t know what the man was in for. Yes, he reoffended under the influence.

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 21, 2007, 12:39 pm

Chemical castration only works if the perverts take their meds. I say public castration with a dull knife. Maybe a few kicks to the groin first.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2007, 12:50 pm

And in Latvia, Blind man caught drunk driving again.

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 21, 2007, 1:11 pm

Child rapists and drunk drivers. My least favorite people.
I was hit by an illegal who was drunk driving. He ran a red light. Of course, he didn’t have insurance and he fled back to Mexico before the trial. I will have pain in my knee the rest of my life as a result of the accident. He was celebrating cinco de mayo.
Now all I need is some story about Islamists. Shall I vomit now or wait?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 21, 2007, 1:12 pm

Gotta agree with you, Dawn.

Those pre-castration kicks are especially important as they let the perp know where he’s gonna get cut, and they tenderize the particular items being taken out of action. It is a dull knife, after all…

But my all-time favorite for sex offenders (especially child-molesters) is….Scientific Experiments.

Comment from porknbean
Time: August 21, 2007, 1:49 pm

If it were my child, my preference of punishment for the offender would be to put him over a hole.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2007, 2:46 pm

Oh, I bet the subway in Moscow smells nice about now. Apparently, most hot water in Moscow is delivered from centralized locations (as opposed to basement water heaters). In August, they shut them down for maintenance.

Comment from Gnus
Time: August 21, 2007, 3:49 pm

Gimmee ‘dat ole time religion

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 21, 2007, 5:27 pm

That olfactory image is more than I care to experience. I refuse to imagine it. Muscovites in the summer. Steamy. Eww.

How ’bout Tazer tennis shoes, Weas? For your aggressive central Park jogger. “No prisoners!”

Casimir Force Sneakers – so you can walk up walls like a gecko?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2007, 5:44 pm

Oh, my ambitions were modest. It was an extension of the Doomercycle, but I wanted to put the A B triggers on the bottom of shoes. So you’d have to run in place in order to run in Doom.

Something like those game pads you hop on for some videogames.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 21, 2007, 6:24 pm

You reminded me of something – I don’t know why.

Ever hear of a gasoline-powered pogo stick? They’re great, and exceedingly (repeated ten times) dangerous. I will look for a link.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 21, 2007, 6:27 pm

Yep. Here it is:


*Oh, mighty Filter, pass over me tonight!*

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2007, 6:48 pm

One link almost never angers the gods (unless you’re Lokki, and he has a history). That’s gob-smacking, McGoo.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 21, 2007, 6:55 pm

I know about Lokki and The Filter. I have my suspicions…

Gob-smacking is precisely right, Weasel-Sir! There were many a gob smacked, tooth knocked skyward (hello, dentist!) and jaws broken (hello bone doctor!) by those powered pogo sticks. They were lethal.

Comment from Lokki
Time: August 21, 2007, 10:41 pm

I didn’t do nuthin’ Nuthin’! I was framed!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 21, 2007, 11:47 pm

So all those “Akismet heart Lokki” scribbles in the Filter loo were done by elves?

Comment from Lokki
Time: August 22, 2007, 9:22 am

Well, if my choices are elves or fairies, I’ll take elves, but I like to think of her as a Nymph…..

( Important note: She swore she was 18, but she had left her license in her school locker

Steamboat – what were you doing in the Nymphettes’ loo in the filter?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 22, 2007, 9:28 am

It was dark, dude, and I was confused. And in a hurry.

By the time I figured out my mistake, a) my bidness there was done, and b)I’d read all the wall-comments written on the stall.

But don’t worry: what happens in the Filter stays in the Filter. Just like ‘Vegas.

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