The Purple Pedals ybike (photo courtesy Lomokev)

ybike (2008)

Yahoo’s Buzz Marketing team asked Uncommon Projects to research and develop 20 photo taking bikes in 10 weeks. Uncommon was responsible for developing the underlying technology to make the bikes work. The bikes were designed to operate both domestically and internationally and were shipped to 12 locations including Tanzania, Denmark, Tokyo, Lebanon, and England. When ridden, the bikes automatically snap photos and upload them to flickr every 60 seconds. Every photo is tagged with the bike’s GPS location so it can be viewed on an interactive map. Each bike is: Weatherproof, Location-aware, Net-connected, Solar-enabled and works for up to two weeks on a single charge. The research, fabrication files and source code have been freely shared for anyone to use and modify.


  • 10 weeks from concept to delivery of 20 Bikes
  • Deep research on location-based technologies
  • Live photo uploads and mapping
  • Robust, custom application and dedicated hardware development
  • Modular design for remote support
  • Documented and shared research, prototypes and final design
  • Presented at Hackday and Maker Faire

Related Links:
Making-of video featuring Uncommon
The ongoing Purple Pedals Blog
Lifehacker Article
Research and Source Code
Every Bike’s Output on Flickr
Making-of Photos
Make Blog Article