Adafruit Learning System Weekly Update: Fitness Focused Electronics Projects

This week on the Adafruit Learning System we are going to dive into all of the fun fitness related guides. Need more motivation to keep pedaling on your indoor bike trainer? Want to track your heart rate with a fun seven-segment display? Or how about tracking your speed and pedal cadence while biking outdoors? These fitness guides will help you get in shape and learn electronics at the same time. But first lets take a look at what’s new on the Adafruit Learning System.

Favorite New Guide

This week my favorite new guide will show you how to make a self-contained Dial-a-Song telephone and call your favorite songs!

Build a self-contained Dial-a-Song using a Western Electric 2500DM telephone and a Feather RP2040 + mono amplifier. People can dial a number to hear a song or message played through the handset earpiece. The CircuitPython keypad library makes it simple to read the Touch Tone keypad matrix.

It’s a fun conversation piece — especially with its accurate dial tone, touch tones, and other teleco messages — and perfect for escape rooms or other puzzle games.

I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, however, should you choose to put some They Might Be Giants songs on there, you’ll be a hero.

Fitness Focused Electronics Projects

CircuitPython BLE Heart Rate Zone Trainer Display

Heart rate zone training can be an excellent way to monitor workout intensity and increase your fitness and endurance. By spending certain periods of workout time at different percentages of your maximum heart rate. For example, warming up at 50-60%, then entering the “fitness zone” of 60-70% for a period, then going into the aerobic zone of 70-80%, finally peaking in the intense anaerobic zone of 80-90%.

Using a Bluetooth LE heart rate monitor armband or chest strap, you can send up-to-the moment heart rate data to a battery-powered Feather nRF5280 Bluefruit equipped with a pair of seven segment LED displays.

Place it on a wall or shelf where you can easily see it while you work out! Or carry it or hook it to your bike. CircuitPython makes it straightforward to connect to your heart rate monitor and stream the heart rate data and zone percentages to the displays.

Pyloton: CircuitPython Cycling Computer

Pyloton is a CircuitPython bike computer made with the CLUE board. Pyloton measures Bluetooth LE heart rate, speed, and cadence.

It also provides Apple Music Service song info, combined on one small device with a sharp display and a 3D printed handlebar mount (or optional wrist mount).

This project is the culmination of three previous Adafruit Learning System projects, plus some new abilities of our Bluefruit code to connect to multiple peripheral devices!

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Exercise Buddy: Motion aware BLE media controller

Watching a riveting show while on a stationary bike is a good way to motivate yourself to exercise more regularly. There was even a scientific study done about it, which coined the term “temptation bundling”. But sometimes, the show might get way too interesting and you might not even notice that you’ve stopped cycling!

This project creates a device that can detect simple movement, and when it detects that you’ve stopped moving, it will pause any videos or music playing on your Apple mobile device (iPad, iPhones, etc.). It’s an exercise buddy that will remind you to keep moving so you can keep watching!

Bluetooth Cycling Speed & Cadence Sensor Display with Clue

Learn to read cycling speed and cadence sensor data over Bluetooth LE and display data on your CLUE board’s screen!

Using our Bluefruit libraries and CircuitPython, it’s now possible to connect to multiple devices, in the case of separate speed and cadence sensors, as well as dual sensor devices that present as a single BLE peripheral.

The adafruit_clue library is used to help keep things simple, so you can write the wheel and crank revolution text to the display without diving into complicated display code.

In a future project, we’ll cover the math needed to convert these raw revolution values into speed and cadence like you’ll see on a typical bike computer or cycling app. This project will get you familiar with reading and displaying data directly onto the CLUE.

ALS Deep Cut

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With so many guides on the Adafruit Learning System, some amazing guides of years past get buried and lost. ALS Deep Cuts brings these guides back up to the surface. This week’s guide is from back in 2017.

Make a fancy, color changing Pixie Dust Bag with Circuit Playground Express!

How can your fairy costume be complete without a glowing pixie dust bag?! It sparkles and blinks, and you can squeeze the touch sensor wire to change the colors on the beautifully twinkling NeoPixel ring! This fun, sophisticated-looking prop is easy to build with absolutely no soldering required.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


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