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Title:
A PROGRAMMABLE AND REMOTE CONTROLLED SAFETY PEDAL FOR BICYCLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/069337
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An electronic system (100) for pedalled vehicles (1) comprises an operating unit (20), associated with at least one pedal (2) of the pedalled vehicle (1) and integrated into it, and a control device (3; 7) operated by a user of the pedalled vehicle (1) and capable of communicating with the operating unit (20) wirelessly. The operating unit (20) includes light-emitting devices (5), which can be activated in a programmable sequence for signalling the position and the turn of the pedalled vehicle (1), and a programmable unit (21) for receiving commands from the remote control device (3; 7) to activate such light-emitting devices (5) and, on the basis of such commands, to activate said light-emitting devices (5) in a programmed sequence. The device (3; 7) is a control device designed to send commands remotely to the programmable unit (21) of the operating unit (20) to activate said light-emitting devices (5).

Inventors:
FURFARO, Ivan (Place de la Gare 6, 1020 Renens, 1020, CH)
CATTARELLO, Paolo (Corso Repubblica 25, San Giorgio Canavese, 10090, IT)
CRESTETTO, Stefano (2 Victory Court, Grange Bottom, ROYSTON Hertfordshire SG89UR, SG89UR, GB)
ROCCA, Roberto (Via Costa Andrea 13, Cremona, 26100, IT)
Application Number:
IT2018/050181
Publication Date:
April 11, 2019
Filing Date:
October 01, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FURFARO, Ivan (Place de la Gare 6, 1020 Renens, 1020, CH)
CATTARELLO, Paolo (Corso Repubblica 25, San Giorgio Canavese, 10090, IT)
CRESTETTO, Stefano (2 Victory Court, Grange Bottom, ROYSTON Hertfordshire SG89UR, SG89UR, GB)
ROCCA, Roberto (Via Costa Andrea 13, Cremona, 26100, IT)
International Classes:
B62M3/08; B62H5/20; B62J6/00
Foreign References:
CN206466111U2017-09-05
KR101583068B12016-01-06
FR3029167A12016-06-03
JPH07291174A1995-11-07
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Electronic system (100) for pedalled vehicles (1), comprising:

- an operating unit (20) associated with at least one pedal (2) of the pedalled vehicle (1) and integrated therein, comprising a programmable unit (21); and

- a control device (3; 7) operable by a user of the pedalled vehicle (1) and able to communicate with the operating unit (20) in a wireless mode for the acquisition of the information provided by the operating unit (20);

characterized in that:

- said operating unit (20) contains light-emitting devices (5), activated according to a programmable sequence, for signalling the position and the turn of the pedalled vehicle (1);

- the control device (3; 7) for the acquisition of the information provided by the operating unit is a remote control device capable of sending to the programmable unit (21) of said operating unit (20) commands for the activation of said light-emitting devices (5); and

- the programmable unit (21) of said operating unit (20) is able to receive from the control device (3; 7) said commands of activation of said light-emitting devices (5) and, based on these commands, to activate said the light-emitting devices (5) according to a programmable sequence.

2. Electronic system (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein said light-emitting devices (5), preferably constituted by LEDs, are activated according to a programmable sequence consisting of:

- a fixed light activation of the LEDs; and/or

- a blinking light activation of the LEDs according to a programmable frequency; and/or

- a partial activation of the LEDs; and/or

- a progressive activation of LEDs arranged in succession; and/or

- an activation of the LEDs of only one pedal(2) of the pedalled vehicle (1), according to one of the above sequences.

3. Electronic system (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the operating unit (20) comprises means (10) for converting the kinetic energy produced by the rotation of the pedal (2) into electric energy; and in which:

- said means of energy conversion (10) includes a voltage generator for electrical power supplying the operating unit (20) and are actuated by a system (11) for transmitting and gearing-up the motion of the pedal axle; - the voltage generator (10) is associated with means (23) for storing the electric energy produced by said energy conversion; and

- the power supply of the electronic components of the operating unit (20) is provided by said energy storage means (23).

4. Electronic system (100) as claimed in claim 3, wherein the programmable unit (21) is able of reading and possibly of analysing the signal generated by the converting means (10), in order to obtain at least the value of the number of pedal strokes, of other quantities representative of conditions of use of the pedalled vehicle (1) and quantities related with the physiological conditions of the user of the pedalled vehicle (1).

5. Electronic system (100) as claimed in claim 3, wherein said programmable unit (21) is programmed to perform both the reading and the analysis of the signal generated by the converting means (10), and is also programmed to process the results of said analysis and to transmit them from the operating unit (20) to the control device (3; 7).

6. Electronic system (100) as claimed in claim 3, wherein said programmable unit (21) is programmed to perform only the reading of the signal generated by the converting means

(10) and to communicate the results of said reading to the control device (3; 7), and wherein said control device (3; 7) is able to carry out the processing to obtain the value of the number of pedal strokes, and/or said other quantities representative of the conditions of use of the pedalled vehicle (1) and said other quantities related with the physiological conditions of the user of the pedalled vehicle (1)

7. Electronic system (100) according to any precedent of claims, wherein the control device consists of a smart mobile communication device (7) which, according to the functions performed by the programmable unit (21), comprises an application for generating control signals to be sent to the operating unit (20) in order to activate the light-emitting devices (5) and/or an application for displaying and for storing the results of the processing performed by the programmable unit (21) and/or by the control device itself (7).

8. Pedalled vehicle (1) including an electronic system (100) according to any preceding claim.

Description:
A PROGRAMMABLE AND REMOTE CONTROLLED

SAFETY PEDAL FOR BICYCLE

DESCRIPTION

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention concerns pedalled vehicles, such as bicycles, and more specifically concerns an electronic system to be applied to one of these vehicles.

For the sake of simplicity, in the following description, these vehicles will be referred as "bicycles", without this being to be understood as a limitation of the invention.

BACKGROUND ART

The use of electronic components is becoming increasingly common on modern bicycles, not only for sports or competition use, but also for tourist or city use.

A first example of such components is active light-signalling devices for safety purposes to indicate at least the position of the vehicle. This is particularly useful in urban traffic conditions or, on the other hand, in poor lighting conditions. These devices shall be easy to see for drivers of other vehicles, so they need to be placed in appropriate positions of the bicycle, such as the seat post, the rear of the luggage carrier, the spokes of the wheels and the pedals. Similar items may also be present on accessories and/or components of the rider's clothing and equipment, in particular: helmets and gloves. For the purposes of this invention, devices mounted on pedals are of particular interest. The active devices represent a clear evolution from the reflective and retroreflective elements of previous use, eliminating the main technical defects and the most serious limitations.

In fact, reflective and retroreflective elements are passive elements. They become unusable and useless when an external source of lighting is lacking, such as, for example, car headlights or street lighting systems, or when the source of lighting comes from lateral directions respect to the reflective face, also considering that these elements have surfaces with an angle of view well below 360°. Secondly, these elements, positioned on exposed parts of the bicycle, are subject to the action of bad weather, so they need to be regularly checked, maintained and/or replaced. In addition, they do not allow a clear indication of the turning point. Active light signalling devices using electroluminescent diode (LED) technology have become popular since many years. These devices might have a fixed or a flashing light, they are generally powered by an internal battery and they are connected to mechanical and electrical elements to activate the circuit. The state of the art shows that there are different bicycle pedals with LED position indicator lights, which are usually integrated in the body of the pedal and are generally positioned on the side surfaces. In such a way, when the rider's foot is resting on the pedal, it is possible to indicate the presence of the bicycle on the road, in at least one preferred direction. Examples of this state of the art are described in US5702172, US5902038 and US6196707B1.

All these well-known solutions have a battery power system, which has obvious drawbacks. In particular, even if the LEDs have a very low power consumption, the limited duration of the battery life forces the user to frequent maintenance and/or replacement of the battery. If the system does not have any residual charge indicators, there is the constant risk of having an unusable device due to battery discharge. In addition to this, in most cases, these devices have unconventional battery power systems, often expensive or not readily available.

These limitations and disadvantages are certainly overcome by electronic pedals equipped with LED position lights powered by a suitable voltage generator, put into rotation by the same movement of the pedal. This generator usually supplies energy to an electronic circuit, which can possibly have a capacitor or an accumulator for the storage of charge.

The W09938758A1 deals with a bicycle pedal that integrates a voltage generator, whose rotor is rotated by the pedal via a multiply gearing system. The generator allows the lighting of a series of LED located inside the body of the pedal. These LED acts as position indicators and can be turned on for a short time, also while the bicycle it's not in motion thanks to the presence of a capacitor for the storage of charge, placed inside the pedal. The LEDs, mounted on an electronic board positioned in the distal section of the inside of the pedal body, project the light outside, frontally and laterally, thanks to the presence of reflective surfaces, which are free to rotate in order to maintain the same inclination with respect to the light beam, regardless of pedal position. The opposite sides of the pedal differ in the arrangement, number and colour of the LEDs; this makes it easier for the cyclist to choose the appropriate pedal orientation. For the same reason, the two sections in which the pedal is divided by the central axle differ in weight from each other, which avoid the pedal to stay horizontally.

A similar pedal is described in WO0170562A1. US200520152835A1 describes a pedal with an integrated lighting system, powered by a generator known as a "can-stack" placed coaxially to the pedal axle.

Devices of this type are structurally complex and, in addition, show the substantial defect that the LEDs, both with fixed light or with intermittent light, are designed to operate in a predetermined way. Actually, based on the electronics integrated in these devices, the user is not able to switch the LED on or off, or to manage the frequency of flashing of the LED. The user is not even able to activate the LED in a particular sequence, which can be useful to adapt the function to different environmental or traffic conditions (also depending on traffic regulations), or even for personal taste. Furthermore, these devices do not include turn signals in their design, but only position signal indicators. Such a development would be a sure way forward, especially in the area of road safety.

US20080088423A1 describes a sound and light signalling device that can be placed in appropriate positions on a bicycle (especially in the seat post) or in the rider's equipment. A remote controller mounted on the bicycle handlebar controls the device thanks to a wireless communication. LEDs generate the light signal. The remote control can activate a turn signal or a warning flash. The sound and light signalling device is battery-powered and therefore has the drawbacks discussed above.

In the prior art it is not described any light-emitting means integrated in the pedal and controlled remotely in a programmable way, and in particular to point the turn signal of the pedalled vehicle. Moreover, it is not possible to deduce any possibility of dialogue, nor an active programmability of such light-emitting means integrated in the pedal.

Among other electronic applications for cycling, it has recently become common practice to equip the bicycle with an on-board computer (cycle-computer), a useful tool for measuring and controlling different physical parameters, including: riding speed, distance travelled, pedalling cadence, altitude, heart rate, etc. These values, representing a useful information for the amateur cyclist, prove to be very fundamental in a modern professional cycling, which has become more and more technical and technological. Accessing a bicycle with a device able to detect the pedalling rate and/or measure the rotational speed of a pedal (or equivalently of another rotating body of the vehicle, such as wheel, crankset, etc.) means providing the user with important information on the mode of operation during pedalling. In fact, by combining this measure with other measures obtained directly or indirectly, such as driving speed, power transmitted to the pedal, etc., it is possible to obtain an effective control of physiological parameters that are important for the cyclist's health and for the optimal use of the vehicle. Moreover, by regulating the pedalling cadence, directly or through the choice of the correct ratio, it is also known that is possible to modulate the physical effort of the foot on the pedal, the muscular resistance and the cardiac effort according to the health state and the degree of training of the cyclist. The cycle-computer generally includes a receiver-transmitter, associated with a display for data monitoring and at least a detection sensor, located on the wheel of the vehicle or in correspondence with other self-propelled parts of the vehicle. The connection between the transmitter-receiver and the sensors is usually made by wiring. Nevertheless, frequent vibrations, accidental shocks, sensor wear and deterioration, and poor contact resistance contribute to a significant reduction in the actual sensitivity and life of the instrument.

Recently, in order to solve some of the drawbacks of the traditional connection, similar devices have been equipped with wireless technology, using frequency spectra between radio waves and infrared. These solutions also include a number of critical issues and limitations, such as difficulties in controlling the system, interference in the signal, the presence of obstacles between the various peripherals (objects between them or the body of the rider himself), the high power consumption of the instrument, etc... This can lead to incorrect parameter measurements and/or interruptions in signal transmission.

In particular, with regard to pedalling cadence detection, conventional cadence detectors generally include a magnet attached to a rotating component of the vehicle's mechanics and an inductive sensor attached to the frame. The electrical impulse detected is eventually transmitted to a display device (possibly belonging to the cycle-computer) positioned in the visual field of the cyclist. The two elements of the measuring apparatus referred to above shall be located at a fixed and constant relative distance, depending on the sensitivity of the sensor, and shall remain so. It is therefore clear that the effects of wear, weathering, accidental shocks and the effects of forces developed during rotation, tend over time to limit and / or compromise the sensitivity and operation of the instrument.

The state of the art is familiar with different inventions in the field, in particular those relating to measuring the speed of rotation of a wheel. The differences between the inventions typically concern the type of sensor used, the method of fixing the detection components, their position on the bicycle and the way of communication between sensors and interface. The integration of a pedalling cadence measuring sensor in the pedal can overcome some of the problems mentioned above, in particular the effects of bad weather and the problems resulting from the alignment of the various sensors. US20020108466A1 shows a bicycle pedal, whose axle has a housing to accommodate a permanent magnet, fixed by magnetic attraction. For this reason, the pedal must be designed in ferromagnetic material, or otherwise include an accessory ferromagnetic element. The permanent magnet interacts with a cadence sensor mounted on the frame and it allows the detection of the pedalling cadence.

Even in this situation, however, a continuous and regular alignment between the internal and external components of the pedal, and the existence of the problems listed above is required for the correct operation of the device.

US9663185B2 describes a bicycle pedal that houses a G-sensor recessed into the distal part of the body, which includes a battery power supply coupled to a gravity sensor. The data, measured by the sensor and processed by a possible processor, are eventually transmitted to a computer cycle or to an intelligent mobile phone (smartphone) accessible to the rider.

In this case, there are again limitations due to the dependence of the electronic device on a traditional power supply, therefore subject to a limited battery life. A further disadvantage of using a gravity sensor is the instability of the generated signal, which is the cause and source of possible errors in the estimation of the measured quantities.

A possible solution is illustrated in FR3029167A1. The document presents a pedal including a calculator for geo-locating the pedal and counting the number of pedals, and is configured to communicate the processed information to an external device. The pedal is designed to be powered by a traditional accumulator or by a dynamoelectric generator.

A further problem with the known technique discussed above is that the electronic components to be applied to bicycles are designed in a mutually exclusive way for two categories of users. Safety devices, such as LED light-signalling devices, are meant for "citizen" or "tourist" users, for whom the bicycle is only a normal mean of transport. Cycle computers and other components designed to measure the performance of the cyclist, to provide information on the use of the means, etc., are meant instead for "sports" or "professional" users. Solutions with multi -function electronic systems, in particular associated with pedals, are not known. Such a solution is of interest both to the citizen user, who can benefit from functions normally reserved for sports users, and to the sports user, who can benefit from greater safety when cycling on roads open to traffic. DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The purpose of this invention is therefore to equip a pedalled vehicle with an electronic system that can be controlled remotely, in particular to increase the user safety on the road, which overcomes the main defects and the most serious limitations of the known art. Moreover, such electronic system provides the user with practical and useful functions and parameters while the vehicle is in motion.

This aim is achieved by the invention of an electronic system as described in the attached claims.

According to the present invention, an electronic system for pedalled vehicles is proposed, comprising: an operating unit associated with at least one pedal of the pedalled vehicle and integrated in it; and a control device that can be operated by a user of the pedalled vehicle and is capable of communicating with the operating unit in wireless mode. The operating unit shall incorporate light-emitting devices, which can be activated in a programmable sequence, for signalling the position and the turn of the pedalled vehicle, and shall comprise a programmable unit capable of receiving from the remote control device commands for those lighting devices and, on the basis of those commands, activating those devices in a programmed sequence.

The power supply of such a device shall preferably be obtained by means for the conversion of the kinetic energy produced by the rotation of the pedal axle into electrical energy, consisting advantageously of a voltage generator, and associated with means for the storage of the electrical energy produced by such energy conversion. The power supply to the operating unit, and in particular to the light-emitting devices, is provided by such storage means.

In an alternative form of construction, in which the operating unit includes the means for converting the kinetic energy produced by the rotation of the pedal axle into electrical energy, the programmable unit can be programmed to make a reading and a possible analysis of a signal generated by such means of energy conversion, in order to determine at least the number of pedal strokes.

In a first configuration, the programmable unit is programmed to carry out both the reading and the analysis of the signal generated by the conversion means, and is also programmed to process the results of this analysis in order to obtain, in addition to the value of the number of pedal strokes, other quantities representative of the conditions of use of the pedalled vehicle, as well as quantities related to the physiological conditions of the user of the pedalled vehicle; the results of the analysis and their processing can be transmitted to the remote control device.

In an alternative configuration, the programmable unit is programmed to read only the signal generated by the conversion means and to communicate the results of this reading to the remote control device, which carries out the processing to obtain the value of the number of pedal strokes and/or said other quantities representative of the conditions of use of the pedalled vehicle, as well as said quantities related to the physiological conditions of the user of the pedalled vehicle. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

These and other characteristics and advantages of the present invention will be clear from the following description of preferred forms of realization made as a non-exhaustive example with reference to the attached drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 is a schematic representation of a bicycle equipped with the electronic system according to the invention;

Fig. 2 is a side view of a pedal of the bicycle in Fig. 1;

Fig. 3 is a front view of a control device;

Fig. 4 shows a block diagram of the electronic system according to the invention;

Fig. 5 is a diagram that illustrates the principle of calculating the number of pedal strokes and the pedalling cadence;

Fig. 6 is a block diagram of the control device;

Fig. 7 shows the circuit diagram to control the activation of light-emitting devices;

Fig. 8 shows the circuit diagram to power supply the electronic system; and

Fig. 9 shows a possible arrangement of the operating unit components within a pedal.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

With reference to Fig. 1 - 4, a bicycle 1 is equipped with an electronic system 100 according to the invention. Said electronic system 20 includes an operating unit 20 mounted on one or both pedals 2 and a remote control device 3, for example, a controller or a mobile communication device with processing (or intelligent) capability such as a smartphone or tablet, preferably installed on handlebar 4 of bicycle 1 so as to be easily managed by the cyclist.

The operating unit 20 shall comprise at least light-emitting devices 5, for position and turn signals, and electronic circuits having at least the function of activating said light-emitting devices 5, in a programmable sequence, according to the commands received by the control device 3. The operating unit 20 can include and be associated with means 10 for converting the kinetic energy produced during cycling into electrical energy and means 23 for storing the electrical energy produced to electrical power supply said operating unit 20.

In addition, the operating unit 20 can also perform the function of counting the number of strokes (or a calculation of the pedalling cadence). The control device 3 can receive and process such information in collaboration with the operating unit 20, so to derive data useful for an effective control of physiological parameters important for the health of the cyclist and for optimal use of the bicycle (e.g., data on the physiological conditions of the cyclist, calories burned, etc.). In this case, the electronic system 100 is a multifunctional system. For more generality, the following description refers to the realization of the system 100 as a multifunction system. The light-emitting devices 5 consist advantageously of LEDs and are, for example, arranged in succession and placed on the three visible sides of the body 2a of each pedal 2, i.e. the front side, the rear side and the external side, opposite to the crank 2c, so to ensure a signalling as stereoscopic as possible. The colour of the LEDs 5 will be chosen to comply with any regulatory requirements. Where no such requirements exist, the colour shall be chosen so to distinguish the turn signal from the position signal and to enable drivers of other vehicles to recognise the turning direction of the bicycle 1. Cover plates 6 protect such LEDs 5 from wear and tear, and it can be shaped in such a way so to obtain an aesthetic effect or to make the signalling more evident, in particular the turning signal.

The control device 3 (represented in Fig. 3 as a controller) controls in particular the light- emitting devices 5 with the modes required by the position or by the turn signalling, for example by pressing keys or buttons 3b. The control device 3 communicates with the operating unit associated with the pedal 2 to send the commands to turn on the light-emitting devices 5 and, more generally, to transmit information in a wireless mode, for example by radio frequency. In a preferred form of implementation, such communication is regulated according to the Bluetooth standard. Control device 3 may also have a display or monitor 3a for displaying information from the operating unit, if any. Preferably, the display or monitor 3a is a contact screen type, so that the cyclist can interact with the controller 3 also through the monitor 3a.

Referring in particular to the block diagram in Fig. 4, the operating unit 20 includes also a voltage generator 10 (e.g. a three-phase generator) which acts as a device for converting the mechanical energy produced by the rotation of pedal 2 into electrical energy and stored into an accumulator 23 for supplying the entire unit 20. Moreover, the operating unit 20 includes a programmable unit (microcontroller) 21 and an RF module 22 which dialogues with the control device 3, in the preferred form of implementation operating according to the Bluetooth standard.

The voltage generator 10 is driven by rotation of the pedal axle 2b (as shown by arrow 24) through a multiplication system so to generate sufficient voltage to supply unit 20. In order to guarantee a continuous power supply to the unit 20, without interruptions due to the cessation of the movement impressed on the pedal 2, the generator 10 is connected (as shown by the arrow 25) to means 23 able to store and accumulate a certain amount of charge. Such storing means 23 preferably consists of an accumulator to provide the electrical power supply to the various circuits (arrows 26). In this way, the circuits of the operating unit 20 and, in particular the light-emitting devices 5, can remain operational even when, for example, the cyclist is forced to stop at a traffic light, or because of heavy traffic conditions, or even for a technical stop. Preferably, the accumulator 23 is a capacitive type and includes at least one supercapacitor. Alternatively, such storing means 23 can include rechargeable batteries.

The microcontroller 21 has the task to activate the light-emitting devices 5 (as shown in connection 29) in a programmable sequence, based on the commands sent by the control device 3, and to obtain the number of pedal strokes, and therefore the pedal rate, calculated from the alternating analog signal generated by a phase of the generator 10 (arrow 27). If necessary, in addition to counting the number of pedal stroke, it is possible to determine and estimate related quantities and parameters. For example, an estimate of the speed of the vehicle when pedalling (this requires the microcontroller 21 to know the size of the wheels and the transmission ratio set), or an estimate of the rate of calories burned during the activity or other quantities linked to the physiological conditions of the cyclist.

In an initial configuration, the microcontroller 21 can directly manage the processing of these parameters. In an alternative configuration, an external device, and in particular to the control device 3, can manage the processing of these parameters, at least in part.

The Bluetooth module 22 of the operating unit 20 receives the commands wirelessly transmitted by the remote control device 3. The Bluetooth module 22 interprets and communicates such commands to the microcontroller 21 via the connection 28. Conversely, the values of the quantities determined by the microcontroller 21 (such as the number of pedal strokes) are sent by the microcontroller 21 to the Bluetooth module 22 (connection 28) and wirelessly transmitted to the remote control device 3 which, advantageously, will be equipped with a monitor or display 3a to allow the user to view them. Regarding the activation of LEDs 5, different modes of activation can be programmed in the microcontroller 21, according to any legal regulations. For example, the turn signal may include an intermittent and simultaneous flashing of all said LEDs 5 of the pedal 2, with a programmable on/off frequency; or a sequential activation in succession of individual LEDs 5, as in modern dynamic turn signals of vehicles; or a partial activation; or even an activation of only the LEDs 5 on one of the two pedals 2 according to one of the above modes. When a turn signal command is received by the microcontroller 21 of one pedal, the position signal of the opposite pedal can be temporarily switched off, if previously activated.

As shown in Fig. 5, it is possible to calculate the number of pedal strokes or of the pedalling cadence by processing the output analogue signal of a phase of the voltage generator 10 (as shown in the upper part of Fig. 5). Such signal can be converted into a square wave (as shown in the lower part of Fig. 5) which, in the example shown, is at a high (H) or low (L) logical level in correspondence of the positive and negative half-wave respectively of the alternating signal. The number of pedal strokes is calculated by counting the number of intervals in which the square wave level is high, reduced by a factor depending on the gear reduction ratio of the means (10) for converting the kinetic energy produced by the rotation of the pedal (2) into electric energy. The pedalling cadence is then obtained by normalising the number of pedals over a desired time interval T (for example one minute). A suitable software present in the microcontroller 21 can manage the different counting modes and the time interval. For example, the counting of high logical levels can concern time intervals lasting a few seconds, so that consecutive counting intervals can partially overlap.

The operations of converting an alternating signal into a square wave (or into a succession of high and low logical levels) are well known in the state of the art and for a technician of the field. For example, such operations can be carried out by a voltage threshold comparator (not represented in the figure) and the microcontroller 21 can then easily count the number of high (or low) levels if is programmed to sense such signal through an analog or digital input pin.

If the processing or part of the processing is handled by the control device 3, the operating unit 20 could simply detect the voltage/current values of said alternating signal (signal reading), while the subsequent processing (signal analysis) will be performed by the control device 3 or by another external device. Obviously, different division of the processing between the two parts of the system are possible.

In Fig. 4, it is also indicated an intelligent mobile communication device 7 (hereinafter called "smartphone" for simplicity), which can be used as a controller as an alternative to the control device 3, which can also be placed on the handlebar 4 (Fig. 1), or it can represent an additional component of the system 100.

In the first case, the smartphone 7 will have two main functionalities, it will be equipped with a tailored application for generating and sending to the operational unit 20 the commands for activating the light-emitting devices 5 and/or for storing and displaying the values calculated by the microcontroller 21 or by the smartphone itself 7. Such values include, for example, the number of pedal strokes and/or pedalling cadence, data on the cyclist's physiological conditions, calories burned... In this way, the user can also have historical data on his activity, in addition to knowing the data in real time. The realization of such applications does not present any difficulty for a technician of the field.

In the second case, if the smartphone 7 is an additional component of the system, it will essentially only have this second functionality. For this purpose, for example, the smartphone 7 can communicates with the control device 3 on a user's action or in a programmed manner by the control device 3 or by the smartphone 7 itself, so to download the desired data.

In Fig. 6, the control device 3 includes a programmable unit 31 (a microcontroller); an RF module 32 (in particular operating according to a Bluetooth standard) to dialogue with the operating unit 20 (Fig. 4) and any smartphone 7; an interface 34 including a keyboard or pushbutton panel 3b for the input of commands and/or data by the user, and a monitor or display 3a. A battery 33 provides power to the components of the control device 3 itself (as shown by arrow 36). The cyclist can interact with the control device 3 through the interface 34 (as shown by arrow 35).

The commands and/or data input by the cyclist through the keyboard 3b and/or the monitor 3a are sent to the microcontroller 31 (arrow 39) and from this to the Bluetooth 32 module that transmits them to the operational unit 20 (Fig. 4) and/or to the smartphone 7. Vice versa, the data transmitted by the Bluetooth module 22 of the operative unit 20 (or by the smartphone 7) and received by the Bluetooth 32 module of the control device 3 are sent to the microcontroller 31, which carries out the desired elaborations and makes the results of such elaborations available to the cyclist, through the monitor 3a.

As it is obvious to a technician of the field, a logic scheme and communication of this type also applies when the control device 3 is replaced by a smartphone 7: in this case, the block 31 will be the microcontroller of the smartphone 7.

Fig. 7 shows the power supply and control circuit of the light-emitting devices 5, assuming that the accumulator 23 is capacitive and consists of a single super-condenser. The figure shows two of the LEDs 5, indicated with 5a and 5b, with their respective load resistances R2 and R3, for example associated respectively with the rear and front side of the pedal 2. The super- condenser 23 powers the two LEDs 5a and 5b, and the microcontroller 21 activates them through the resistor Rl and the transistor Ql .

Fig. 8 shows schematically the power supply circuit of the operating part 20, always assuming that the accumulator 23 consists of a single super-condenser. The three-phase generator 10 is connected to the super capacitor 23 and to a three-phase rectifier 40 (consisting of the diodes Dl - D6) for the transformation of the alternating current produced by the generator 10 into direct current. The electrical components 5, 21, 22 (Fig. 4) will then pick up the current at the ends of the super capacitor 23. The Zener diode D7, as known, has voltage limiting functions. The resistors R4, R5 and R6 model the resistance of the windings of the generator 10.

Fig. 9 shows a possible arrangement of the components of the operating unit 20 in the body 2a of pedal 2. The voltage generator 10 is placed next to axle 2b of pedal 2 and is actuated by a series of gears, indicated as a whole by 11, which multiply the rotation of the a axle 2b of pedal 2 in order to ensure sufficient availability of charge to be stored in 23 and to power supply the operating unit 20. Advantageously, the series of gears 11 has a value of multiplication ratio of at least 10. In the preferred form of construction illustrated in the figure, the generator 10 is positioned so that its axle of rotation is arranged perpendicularly to the axle of rotation of pedal 2. This is possible thanks to a pair of helical tooth wheels 11a and 1 lb, included in the system of gears 11. This allows a considerable reduction in the transversal dimensions of pedal 2. LEDs 5 are mounted on printed circuit boards 12 which, in the example shown in the figure, are parallel to the front and rear sides of pedal 2 (and therefore to axle 2b). A further printed circuit board 14, parallel to the previous ones, carries the microcontroller 21 (Fig. 4) as well as the driving circuits of the LED 5 and the charging circuits of the battery 23 (here including a single super-condenser, as in the circuit diagrams of figures 7, 8). The Bluetooth module 22, in the example shown in the figure, is located at the inner face of the side of pedal 2 opposite the crank 2c (Fig. 1). Possibly, the printed circuit board 14 can host also the Bluetooth module 22.

The invention actually achieves its intended purpose. The presence in pedal 2 of the active light-emitting devices 5 contributes to the safety of the cyclist, especially in the case of changes of direction and mainly in the evening and at night or in poor light conditions.

The possibility to control and to command the programmable unit 21 remotely, by means of the control device 3 or 7 and, in particular, to activate the light-emitting devices 5 according to a programmed sequence, represents a sure advantage in the functioning of the electronic system 100, allowing the user of the pedalled vehicle 1 a voluntary and dynamic management of the devices associated with the pedal 2.

Furthermore, pedal 2, equipped with a device for converting the kinetic energy produced during cycling into electrical energy, proves to be an advantage in terms of environmental sustainability, in addition to minimizing the inconveniences associated with the limited system life as for traditional battery power supplies. Counting the number of pedal strokes, to which directly and/or indirectly derivable measurements can be associated (cadence, vehicle speed, rate of calories burned, physical parameters...), represents a useful information for the amateur cyclist and the sportsman.

It is clear that such description represents only a non-exhaustive example to carry out the invention and it is clear that variations and modifications are possible without stepping away from the field of protection of the invention, as defined by the annexed claims.

As an example, the means of conversion 10, instead of the alternating voltage generator described above, can consist of an alternating current gearmotors, arranged longitudinally with respect to the axle of rotation of the pedal 2.

Moreover, in the case where the electronic system 100 is intended for a bicycle for sports use, the accumulator 23 may not be present.