Making Lab

Our Making Lab has played host to many development stages in bicrophonics over 10+ years, including interaction development for bike-as-instrument and bike-to-bike communication along with hardware design improvements.

Sensory Bike Development

The Sensory Bike was first prototyped back in 2013 with Kaffe,  Dave, Ryan and Cat. In March 2016 we were delighted to welcome Sukander Kartadinata for an Interaction Residency, coming to work with Kaffe to develop the sonic bike into more of an instrument. Our aim was to enable the rider to play the sound from the bike by how they ride. Not just to trigger a different sample in a different way, but to allow for example the rider to cycle through a sound or synthesize it directly by their pedalling. Following this, extensive development took place during Kaffe’s Berlin based Edgard Varèse professorship in 2016 which realised the completion of the Sensory Bike.

Hall effect sensor on handlebars

A hall sensor: reading changes in a magnetic field created by steering, mounted on the handlebars. MORE.

Hall effect sensor on wheel

A hall sensor: reading the speed of spin of the wheel, from magnets on the spokes and frame. MORE

Infra-red (IR) receivers

A cadence sensor made from two reflective infrared(IR) sensors mounted on top of the chain ring. MORE and MORE

Hall effect sensor on chain ring

A hall sensor: reading the pedalling, mounted on top of the chain ring pointing at the cog to read the magnetic pulses. MORE.

Infa-red (IR receivers)

In hind site these can be seen to work brilliantly, but in low light only. MORE


Prototype experiments in sound synthesis dependent on the vibration of the bike, making holes in the tarmac and bumps musical.

  • Read the full details about the Interaction Residency with Sukander in the Blog starting here.
  • Follow the journey of how the sensory bike was made: BRI blog #sensory-bike

Hardware Design

Pure data

A series of BRI hosted Pure data workshops in spring 2016 with a view to working with live data inputs from sonic bike riding in future. Led by Andy Farnell with Kaffe and a brilliant new group of BRI coders.

Sub woofer

The newly found minirig speakers, first used on the sonic trike, also come with a small self powered sub woofer and so BRI plans are forming to integrate the sub into new sonic bikes designs, adding bass to the biking experience.

Speaker positioning

There is ongoing need to design bars that hold speakers in a variety of positions, for different riding situations. A new adjustable speaker bar is on the horizon thanks to CameronKaffe and Sukander.

Tandems and cargo bikes

Ideas of sonic biking for families in cargo bikes and pairs on tandems is leading investigation into new designs for the travelling sonic bike group. A future BRI aim for Kaffe and Lisa.

Bike-to-bike interactivity

Development into bike-to-bike interactivity, experiments led by Kaffe and Dave with help from Ryan, Cat and lots of other London Fields park goers in 2013.

Three bikes explore bike swarm behaviour using FM transmission, android app and  accelerometers to change ring modulated tones through motion and tilt. MORE.

A raspberry pi was used to create a bike mesh network to play further desensitized accelerometer driven modulation between two sonic bikes. MORE.

The bike to bike mesh network altering modulation between two sonic bikes plus new “ghost zones”. MORE.

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