Riffing on Riding Styles in Processing

1 minute read

Riding Styles

At Ather, while examining data from the bunch of sensors on the vehicle I figured that this data could potentially capture a person’s ‘unique’ style of riding. I had accompanied the folks for several tests at a racetrack myself, and noticed that this made a pretty fun and engaging narrative. How did one person ride, how did he/she do compared to the others?


Bringing out such nuanced information from a multitude of variables - throttle, acceleration, deceleration, speed, gryos, etc. - was inherently complex, and a cool data visualization seemed like a nice way to tackle this. A few weekends and a lot of pretty pictures later, I built one up in Processing (A Java-based sketching library) that gave a neat, almost game-like replay of the ride as it was logged. This was unexpectedly complex as I had to write a pre-processing layer, along with some basic sensor fusion to make sure the visual looked nice and was informative. I also had to create custom classes for polygons that would tile up along track path (rounded edges!).

Visualization guide - width of chunks: speed, color: acceleration / deceleration intensity, tiny grey bars next to throttle: histogram of throttle positions (rotated vertically)

The result? A pretty seasoned, agressive rider:


A more ordinary, death-fearing guy:


(NOTE: The above images are screenshots from an interactive applet that would allow for scrubbing and pausing. I’m working on integrating a cool interactive bit using Processing.js soon ).

Geeky comparisons

Naturally, this led to reasonably geeky comparisons within the team. However, was interesting to see the effect of style on range performance: efficient needn’t mean much slower. Also might have safety potential: making people more aware of their style relative to driving norms.


Marketing Event Spin-off

What started as an interesting exercise ended up getting incorporated into a couple of events that were run with early-adopters. Look out for yours truly, and the blobby snakes from above.