STS Class: Hands-On Theory with S.C.O.T. a Bike

SCOT a bike assignment

Due: Sept 29th at beginning of class

Using what you’ve learned about the Social Construction of Technology as a theory of technological change, make a meaningful alteration to a bicycle that shows SCOT at work—with you and your group as the “relevant social group” of users making a technological change, and creating a new technlogy that’s more appropriate to your needs and interests.

Document your process and outcomes in writing and also do a short (no more than 5 minute) video in which you explain the ultimate success or failure of your modification—in other words, did SCOT work in your case? Did you come up with a new, socially-constructed technology that’s attuned to the needs of a certain group of users? Who are those users and how do they differ from others? What else does your modification need to be successful and potentially become widespread?

The written portion will be a short collective essay of no more than 500 words (one essay per group) that you will post on (as a comment on the “SCOT a bike” post). At the end of the essay, post a link to your video, which should be hosted as a public video on YouTube. Try to make sure that the video tells us something more than the essay—use the format of the video to explain things visually and kinetically in ways that might not be possible to do in text. For instance, your video might show us your modification without using words, or might include diagram overlays of your invention if you are unable to actually fabricate the parts for it.

In addition to coming up with some sort of (hopefully ingenious) modification, your goal in this assignment is to better understand SCOT—how it works, and when the theory is and isn’t applicable—through doing a hands-on task. In your essay, explain the thought processes behind your experiments with SCOT, how this changes your understanding of what we’ve talked about in class, and what you learn along the way.


  1. In today’s environmentally friendly word, the bike and cycling have become a symbol of sustainability and healthy living. How bikes have changed over time has largely been influenced by the ways in which bikes are used. Living in an urban area, having a bike is not only a great way to reduce one’s carbon footprint, but also an easy way to circumvent at least some of the congestion of traffic. Being in a large city, however, also carries with it the need, or at the least the attitude, for fast-paced travel and completion of tasks. That being said, while bikes are a great alternative to driving, there are a few notable tasks that cannot easily be accomplished on a bike that can be in a car.

    One of the most obvious examples of this is eating—easily done in a car, but almost impossible on a bike. There are a number of products and technologies already available that allow for the transport of food (i.e. front racks), but not any that allow the user to consume food at the same time. This ability would significantly aid urban cyclists in their fast-paced lifestyle.

    In the attached video, this idea is crudely demonstrated with a simple paper plate attached to the handlebars of a bike, sitting, for the most part, where a rack for groceries and belongings may be kept. The idea here is that having the ability to eat while on the go, may be helpful to leisure cyclists. Obviously, for this to work the product would need to be aesthetically pleasing and functionally reliable. The idea represented in the video would need to be harnessed to include a shallow, but more compartmentalized product similar to that of Tupperware.

    While the idea of eating on the go may be appealing, there come with it significant disadvantages when it comes to safety. Eating while driving is permissible by law, but most would agree that its something that should be avoided when possible and with biking, even more so.

    The fast-paced life experienced by many Americans, urban and rural alike, is primarily catered to those that use a vehicle as a primary source of transportation. Drive-thru restaurants and the general lack of adequate bicycle parking in some areas are testaments to the “lower-status” of cyclists. If this “trend” was to be adopted by many cyclists, restaurants would begin to cater their drive through offerings to those that are “bike rack”-friendly or even maybe go as far as creating boxes that are specifically designed to fit into the product so that food can be efficiently be consumed without spillage.

    The social construction of technology theory is in place here as the “technology” was developed as an addition to an already existing technology to better meet the needs of the user. The inventors, however, cannot ignore the feasibility of such a product. In order for this to be successful, it cannot hinder the operation of the original technology which may apply here. With the technology displayed in the video, this would never be a feasible option. However, with the right investments, it would be more than feasible to produce a mounted product that is shallow enough to allow a user to access the contained food, but deep enough to prevent spillage when riding, turning, and stopping.

  2. Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) is a theory that user can utilize to impact technology. This project goal is to apply SC OT theory in modifying the design of traditional bicycles based on our group’s perspectives.

    As a group, we have come up with three improvements that improve the safety of a normal bike. First and foremost, the front wheel of the bike is replaced by two wheels. This design can keep bikers, especially beginners, stable at every turns and at emergency stops. Also, since the roads in winter time are covered with ice, salt, and debris, tricycles owners can be safer while sharing the road with other vehicles.

    The second improvement is the installation of a transparent shield which aims to fight against rainy and windy days. Adding a shield can spare the bike from having to fix her hair or outfit after the trip. The transparent and waterproof design can keep the biker from getting wet while maintaining good vision on the road. In addition, the shield is removable and packable which can be folded and placed in backpacks, handbags, or even a purse.

    The last design is for the safety of the bike itself. A new alarm system will be installed inside the bike. When the bike’s lock is activated incorrectly, the alarm system will notify the biker by sending warning messages to her mobile device. Via the app, the biker can locate her bike through the GPS system installed inside the bike. Also, if the owner forgets to lock the bike, an alarm system will be automatically activated and will notify the owner by sending an alert message.

    The bicycle is a significant invention in life. However, everything needs to fit in the environment in order to perform the best. Our “tricycles” is specially designed for women living in cities like Chicago. By using a tricycles with a packable shield and wonderful alarm system, days as a biker will be safe, convenient and more enjoyable.

    Video link:

  3. SCOT a bike
    With nonstop innovations of technology nowadays, everyone tends to choose the suitable machine to help them in daily life. SCOT- Social Construction of Technology-is a theory argue that people actions will shape technology, but not the opposite direction. We would like to introduce you this special bike, and it is satisfied the SCOT’s theory. Cyclists would love to own this bike if they want to find a stable durable electric power source for their devices while they camp outdoor.

    At first, we want to show you who are the users. They are cyclists and campers who want to enjoy good time at some beautiful wilderness places with friends, family in their vacations. They are different than other cyclists because they need their electric devices are charged from those places. Meanwhile, most other cyclists might not even think about it because those power sources are everywhere where they live. The users will not worry about this problem anymore because of this special bike. The main idea is that we can utilize the back wheel’s rotation to generate a reliable electric power.

    The ideas that help building this bike are satisfied the SCOT’s theory. In fact, it is necessary to have a stable electric power when people camp outdoor. Base on their need, we could design a transformer that transform part of the rotation of the back wheel to currents. These currents will flow to a battery and charge it. When the battery is full, the light-emitting diode of the battery will turn green. Hence, we can use the battery for charging devices. The first common question is why the transformer has to be placed at the back wheel, not at the front wheel. If the machine is placed at the front wheel, the users will lose a great amount of their energy in an effort to bike and to power the machine up. Because when we pedal, the back wheel will rotate first, not the front wheel. Hence, it is more efficient when we place the machine at the right position.

    In addition, the rotation of the back wheel will rotate the gears inside the machine. Therefore, if we connect a small transformer to the gears, we will get unstable currents from the output of the transformer. These currents will flow to a positive side of a battery. With this design, the battery will be charge until full, and the users can use it to charge devices. We observe that the campers needs lead to a special machine that can satisfy all of different details such as the highest value of voltages, currents, powers, the position to place that machine, it’s size, it’s shape.etc. Therefore, we can conclude that this bike is satisfied the SCOT’s theory.

    In sum, cyclists and campers would like to have this bike because of its incredible usage. For us, although this machine is challenging to make, but it is still very interesting to comprehend what exactly happen inside the transformer and the circuit. The users will not need to worry about the electric power for their devices anymore. All they need to do is doing a quick exercise with their favorite bike. They will have more chances to take beautiful pictures without worrying if they forget to charge their camera.

    Citation for siva cycle site:

    “Siva Cycle | Bicycle Power Your USB Devices.” Siva Cycle | Bicycle Power Your USB Devices. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

  4. Social construction of technology (SCOT) develops on an artifact’s purpose to transform it for a specific groups needs. Many inventions over time fall into the SCOT category due to society’s needs. For example, the bicycle has developed from some of its earlier stages such as the Drais machine (1817) and the velocipede (1865) to make getting around faster and safer. To this day the bicycle remains as a convenient form of transportation, as well as a hobby. The thought of using it as a tool of art, however, is not common. By taking advantage of the spinning motion of the wheel, the idea of the zoopraxiscope became a plausible goal for a bicycle.

    The zoopraxiscope was invented in 1879 by Eadward Muybridge with the initial intent of determining whether or not a horse’s legs were off the ground while in mid gallop. In order to solve this Muybridge set up a multiple camera formation which had threads attached to a shutter that obtained a still image of the horse in that instance. During the test, one photo captured the horse’s legs off the ground; however, Muybridge decided to take this project a step further by displaying the horse in full motion. As part of another piece of technology, the phenakistoscope (or spinning picture disc), Muybridge constructed a 16 inch glass disc with images of the galloping horse on the edge ring of the disc. When in a rapid spinning motion, the disk would give the illusion that the horse is moving, thus, making one of the first motion picture projections.

    Due to its simplicity, the zoopraxiscope makes for an easy implementation with a bicycle. This is done by replacing the back tire with a disc (material does not need to be glass) of images. The turning of the pedals simply forces the disc to spin and cause motion to create the illusion out of the pictures. The “zoopraxycle” now has the capability of producing projections when the disc (rear end of the bike) is suspended above the ground.

    The zoopraxiscope relates to SCOT in the sense that the bike is now being used for a completely different purpose than its original functionality. In this case, it is being used for our group as part of a project and hence meeting “societal needs”. In a broader spectrum, the usage for a zoopraxiscope would be quite limited and hence might not fit the original purpose of the terminology.

    Scott, David Clark. “Google Doodle celebrates Eadweard J. Muybridge, Father of the Zoopraxiscope (+video).” Christian Science Monitor 09 Apr. 2012: N.PAG. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.
    Wicks, Frank. “Credit To The Bicycle.” Mechanical Engineering 132.7 (2010): 40-44. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

  5. Brian Ambelis​​HUM 354/ Prof. Hicks
    Aume Waheed​​Group 2
    Randy Remblake

    S.C.O.T. A Bike Project

    For this project, the relevant social group comprises three IIT commuter students. After getting together and discussing our experiences with having to commute to and from school, we felt that the harsh Chicago weather during the fall and winter months made it increasingly difficult and inconvenient for bicyclists to travel even short distances. Chicagoans find themselves forced to stow away their bicycles during these seasons. Our group came to the conclusion that if we made modifications to our bicycles that would allow us to bike during colder days, we would be more willing to bike for a longer timeframe; thus, saving us gas money in the long run. We discussed several options and we felt that it would be really nice to have our hands and fingers warm on Chicago’s colder days and the addition of a seat warmer was taken into consideration. Our group decided to make a diagram of our concept since none of us possessed enough electrical knowledge to actually build our device.

    The need to travel cheaply and more comfortably during the initial portions of the winter months caused us to consider adding some form of heating capabilities to the handle bars and seat of the bicycle that would be powered by the user’s pedaling and in part by the revolutions of the two bicycle tires so as not to overwork the user in order to operate the device. The device, which we termed “the hot box,” would connect a mini generator to the pedals and tires through wires that coil snugly around the bicycle’s frame. These wires would then connect from the hot box, which is situated on the down tube of the bicycle’s frame, to resistors within the seat and handle bars. The resistors would be insulated enough so that it would transfer sufficient heat to the user and not cause any kind of electric shock. The temperature can be regulated by a rotary dial control situated on the head tube. The rotary dial control gives the user the options of warm, hot, and off.

    In keeping with what we have learned from the theories of the Social Construction of Technology, we decided to allow the user to separately control the heat settings for the seat and the handle bar. This feature would allow the user to have more choices in case he/she wishes to have only the handle bars providing heat or vice versa. Since the hot box is essentially a generator, it could also serve as a source of power to charge a phone or any other portable device. In addition, the device can also be mounted on a stationary bike to power a portable device while exercising indoors since the concept for this device does not work for some of Chicago’s extreme winter temperatures.

    In our project we realized that, as Kline and Pinch put it, users make changes to existing technologies that are meaningful to them and that serve specific purposes to their daily lives. This is what we tried to do with our bicycle by making modifications that would best fit the needs of a commuting student.
    Link to video:

    Works Cited

    Kline, Ronald, and Trevor Pinch. “Users as Agents of Technological Change: The Social Construction of the Automobile in the Rural United States.” JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2014. .
    “File:Bicycle diagram-en.svg.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2014. .

    Thoughts, Ideas, freewriting, things I didn’t include because I went over 500 words:
    Living in Chicago, extreme weather conditions, are important factors when considering whether or not you may want to go on a bike ride around the city. The user group under consideration

    We built this bike, keeping in mind the principles of the social construction of technology,

    Living in the city of Chicago, it’s residents are subjected to various kinds temperatures ranging from very hot and humid days to insufferably freezing winters. We thought about the commuting student during those long winter months.

    Our design had several things in mind: what type of modification would be best suited for a commuting student in the city of Chicago to and from school.

    The device itself would feature several options that would allow the user control of the amount of heat produced. The user would have the option of settings ranging from warm, hot, and off. The seat and handle bars themselves would not go over 60 degrees Fahrenheit. So as not to burn the user.
    This device can be attached to any by bicycle without any prior mechanical knowledge from the user.

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