Ben Heck cooks up proximity sensor for cyclists, still no substitute for keeping eyes open

Ben Heck's been busy -- again. In the latest episode of his bi-weekly show he puts his considerable brain power to work on cycle safety. He uses Parallax ping sensors connected to an Arduino to measure whether you're in any danger from nearby obstacles and traffic. The red and green LED indicators are hooked up to ambient light sensors so they don't blind you while riding at night -- looks like Mr. Heck's thought of everything. This week's episode also includes more secrets behind the prolific modder's Android APK-based baby seat. Check out both projects after the break.

element14's Tour de Ben Heck presents a cycling safety mod on latest episode of "The Ben Heck Show"

CHICAGO – Sept. 26, 2011 – element14, the first collaborative community and electronics store for design engineers and electronics enthusiasts, and modding guru Ben Heck, bring attention to cycling safety by outfitting an ordinary bicycle with electronic, light-up ping sensors to alert bicyclists if they ride too close to cars or other objects on the latest episode of "The Ben Heck Show."

"Learning how to ride a bike is a major milestone," said Ben. "I made it my duty with this build to keep cycling both fun and safe by channeling my inner MacGyver to build a rugged bicycle danger sensor enabling any biker to explore the streets virtually worry-free."

In his quest to make bicycling safe for all, Ben covers major elements of the alert system build-from measuring timing and distance with the Parallax ping sensors and connecting the LEDs, to writing the code for use with an Arduino chipKIT™ and routing the holding case. The final result is a big success with a small footprint, complete with ping sensors, red and green LEDs that light up to keep you in the safe zone and photo sensors that regulate the brightness of the LEDs based on ambient light.

"Similar to front and rear parking sensors on vehicles, Ben's mod gives cyclists a sense of safety as they navigate urban streets and activities," said Kevin Yapp, chief marketing officer, Premier Farnell. "This build is yet another example of how Ben inspires design engineers and enthusiasts to take their creative ideas to the next level, and underscores element14's commitment to serve as a resource for innovative design solutions and peer collaboration."

Ben rounds out this episode with the reveal of his completed baby rocker seat that automatically simulates a car's motion using data from a Google ADK. In addition, the winner of the "Hak5" PC case mod-off challenge is announced!

Show fans are invited to join the element14 community to send Ben a challenge for a future build, engage with community members, and enter for a chance to win one of Ben's builds featured on the show, including his portable LAN computer from the mod showdown.

About "The Ben Heck Show"

"The Ben Heck Show" is a bi-weekly online television series aired in English that's dedicated to the science and art of system and hardware modding with a global audience of design engineers, students and electronic enthusiasts. Sponsored exclusively by element14, each episode spotlights Ben's mods of popular electronic devices while educating viewers on the underlying technology powering each project.

About element14

Launched in June 2009, element14 is the first, innovative information portal and eCommunity specifically built for electronic design engineers. It provides product data, design tools and technology information, while incorporating Web 2.0 functionality to facilitate communication, interaction, collaboration and information sharing between colleagues around the world. element14 is an innovative offering from Premier Farnell plc (LSE:pfl), FTSE 250, a leader in multi-channel electronics distribution trading throughout Europe (Farnell), the Americas (Newark) and Asia Pacific (element14). The company had group sales of £990.8m and underlying profits of £93.3m last year.