Electronic Device [video game/trainer/audio/video controlling bike]… by Shimano

In this article, we’ll be discussing a Electronic Device Related to Human-Powered Vehicle Operating Device… by Shimano, US publication 20210061394. The publication date is March 4th, 20201 and the filing date is Aug. 21st 2020. This patent has not been granted yet.  

It’s important to note that this system is not explicitly for road bikes. This is the type of invention that can be applied into any bike; Shimano just shows a road bike. Additionally, this is a blanket patent that covers the idea from a very high level. I fully expect there to be a bunch of follow up patents that go into detail on the signal control, memory devices, etc. to actually control the system itself.

Background

I’m sitting here, trying to figure out a background for something like this. Has there ever been an actual, usable bike that can also control a video game or trainer? I have no idea if that’s ever existed. The only thing I can think of is the video game motorcycles from the arcade back in the 90’s and 00’s. Oh man, get me an irresponsible amount of Coke in that red cup with some chocolate pizza at Cici’s. Being an adult sucks.

Intro

Shimano are introducing a bike with an integrated operating system to control a video game, training device, audio device, or a video device. The system can control a bike as normal, but can also be connected to your Zwift, Wahoo, headphones, or whatever video system you’re using.

So, all those times you have to get up from your bike to mess with TrainerRoad are in the past. No longer will you need to take the one step to the computer to find a workout. No longer will you need to take your hand off the bike to turn up your music. We are in the future.

Intended Novelty

The intended novelty of this patent is the wireless control system that can control a video game, trainer, audio, or video. I’m unclear if this can all be done at the same time, or one at a time.

Why

I don’t know if there’s an actual problem here. They also don’t have a problem statement. I can’t say I’ve ever had a problem with not controlling my Wahoo with my bike. But, someone will buy this, so they’ll make it. So, if I had to answer ‘why’, it’s money. It’s always money. CREAM

What

While the actual system is very complex, the explanation is pretty simple, and Shimano don’t expand on much so I can’t write much.

Figure 2 shows the system in question. The control lever can control the braking and shifting as normal, but it can also control a secondary electronic system. Controls 52, 54, 60, etc. all contain some kind of electronic switch, which then sends a wireless signal to whatever secondary device you’re using (game, trainer, etc.). Looks like their references the grip with the screen in it, with component 54.

So, in the end, you can control things like an actual video game (80 above) with your bike. Component 72 is just storage. Nothing fancy.

Shimano also state this can be a touch system:

Each operating member 54 can include a touch panel

Figure 3 shows the system in a block diagram. You just need to look at block 80 in the bottom right, and the little lightning bolt. These show what the system can connect to, and that it can connect wirelessly.

The next few lines explain some details regarding the video game, trainer, audio, and video connections.

…the system [may operate] activation of the game…, deactivation of the game…, changing traveling direction, changing traveling road, a cornering operation, obstacle avoidance, a transmission operation, changing rider posture, team chat initiation, team chat termination, a screen operation, changing display information, and changing travel environment.

The system can also active a secondary system or change load settings on a trainer.

…the system [may operate] activation of the training device, deactivation of the training device, and changing of load setting.

Here’s the audio toggle situation:

…the system[may operate] activation of the audio device, deactivation of the audio device SOC, replaying music, stopping music, fast-forward music, rewinding music, changing volume, changing effect, and changing an equalizer.

And here’s the video situation:

…the system [may operate] activation of the video device, deactivation of the video device, replaying a video, stopping a video, fast-forwarding a video, rewinding a video, and changing a video channel.

Conclusion

I’m not sure I ever thought for one second that I needed this, but I’m sure someone has. What a weird thing to develop, but it’s one of those things that if Shimano didn’t do, someone else would. I’d be very surprised if we ever see this in the flesh.

But, it’s a cool concept. This doesn’t really answer what’s needed, but it does show what can be done. I guess there’s that…

2 thoughts

  1. A couple notes:
    #72 is in the shape of their D-fly unit ew-wu101 and the non-bluetooth version that preceded it. That suggests that one could in the future program the current accessory buttons to do things on Zwift. Key would be to only make them do Zwift things when connected to Zwift and outdoor stuff when outdoors.
    Somewhere in my memory banks, I recall a picture of a Shimano prototype or mock-up that had small displays at the top ends of the brake hoods. Maybe it was a defunct Flight Deck concept. That could lead to the touch screen version of the accessory buttons currently located there.

    Like

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