#2214: Rotorgan

In a bygone innocent era, children used commonly to attach little flags to the spokes of their bike wheels so that they’d make a clicking noise by contact with the forks as the wheels rotated past them.

Today’s invention is an improvement on that system which could be hacked by anyone with an Arduino microcontroller and a redundant printer.


This involves attaching a printer arm to one’s front fork (and/or rear frame).

The arm (grey) carries a metal reed (yellow) which plucks the spokes as they pass.

Driving the print head backwards and forwards radially allows a given spoke to impact the reed at a chosen position along its length so that the spoke emits a frequency corresponding to that position.

As the bike moves along, the printer moves the reed to a different position for each oncoming spoke and can thus be used to play a variety of tunes.

Having two such systems fitted to one bike would allow for the simulation of a harp duet.

Thus a cycling club outing becomes a string ensemble performance.

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