Urban Research

Citizen Science on Streets // C.O.S.O: an open-source bike-mounted device to sense the street surface


Project Team // Pablo Fernández Vallejo / Mariana Robles / Daniel Rosero / Roberto Rodriguez / Michael Sandoval




May 2017

C.O.S.O is a project developed in the collaborative workshop Interactivos?'17 at Medialab Prado in Madrid. The aim was to create an autonomous device that could be attached to a bike and measure the quality of the street as the user rode through it. The results are then visualized in two complementary models: a digital one using a map with geo-referenced data points and an analogue one using long-exposure photography to present a ground-level perspective of the gathered information.

An interdisciplinary team came together in order to develop the proposal: Software Developers Daniel Rosero and Michael Sandoval from Colombia, Political Scientist Mariana Robles from Mexico and Graphic Designer Roberto Rodriguez from Spain joined Open Designer Pablo Fernandez Vallejo from Argentina.


Over the course of two weeks of intense work, the team developed a device made of two subsystems: an Android phone running an application for data acquisition (accelerometer and GPS) and an Arduino connected to the RGB LEDs. The components were packed in a box made of laser-cutted MDF and fixated to the bike frame.

The final result was a geo-referenced map with information on the state of the streets of downtown Madrid along with a series of photographs reflecting that very same information from a ground perspective emphasizing the transformation of a regular bicycle into a data acquisition device ready to hunt for bumps, holes, and street surfaces that are unfriendly to bike users.


Further developments for C.O.S.O will revolve around exploring the possibilities of using bike-mounted sensors to empower people with street data about their communities.


Learn more about the project here: