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RMIT students light trees and break records with Cadel

Posted in: Australian Universities, News, RMIT
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Even though Christmas has passed, we thought we would share this article with you (for those cycling enthusiasts and those who support green initiatives). 

RMIT University students have joined cyclist Cadel Evans to light Christmas trees with pedal power in a world record-breaking event at Federation Square.

Champion cyclist Cadel Evans (second from left) at FutuRide with RMIT.

The FutuRide event broke the record for the most electrical energy generated by pedalling on bicycles in one hour, and set the record for the most lights lit by pedal power.

The records were approved by an official Guinness World Records adjudicator at the green energy awareness event, organised by Siemens and supported by RMIT.

A team of Master of Computer Science students developed an iPhone app, Virtual FutuRider, for the event, while other RMIT teams prepared push-bike generators and associated applications.

Dr Milan Simic, Senior Lecturer in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, said the teams from the Bachelor of Engineering (Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics) created applications for data tracking and display in real time, on the Federation Square main screen, and on the internet.

“One RMIT team of graduating students, led by Mohamed Elbanhawi with Hernan Cano and Steven Wollmer, was responsible for the application that presented the data on the night,” he said.

“The other team, from the SAMME Mechatronics Club, was led by Bilal Baig Mirza, club president, with Sanka Mendis and David Favell.”

A ‘peloton’ of 120 specially-prepared bikes, all fitted with generators, was positioned at Federation Square in the shape of a giant Christmas tree (when viewed from above).

Students Bilal Baig Mirza, Rayan Kamaleddine, Jose Abletez (Paolo), Daniel Bjorksten and Jamie Clemente were also involved in the technical stages of preparations, testing and final setup of the 120 bikes.

The iPhone app created by RMIT students allowed the wider public to take part in the event.

Astrid Bauers, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science and IT and project manager of industry/student projects in the Master of Computer Science, said anyone was able to download Virtual FutuRider and participate before or on the day.

“The game was fun and players could generate green power to protect the environment by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in a virtual, competitive environment,” she said.

“The game scores were stored and shared by players using Facebook or Twitter.”

On the night, riders’ pedal power illuminated individual Christmas trees that, in turn, formed the outline of the giant tree.

Riders needed to generate 80 watts of electricity to power their Christmas tree, several LEDs and a halogen light.

The spectacular sight and the alternate energy demonstration helped illustrate the contribution we can all make to a sustainable future.

Cyclist Cadel Evans was the first Australian to win the Tour de France, in 2011.

The average Tour de France rider can generate 350 watts for up to 60 minutes in a long hill climb. In a shorter sprint they might generate more power for a short time – about 450 watts.

As riders found out at Federation Square, the more devices they needed to power from their bicycle, the harder pedalling became.

Two stationary rides took place in the event, both with Cadel Evans.

A special children’s ride started the event, with a field of 480 adult riders, who rode in 15 minute time intervals, later joining Mr Evans to set and break the world records.

Contact KOM Consultants for more information on RMIT.