P16214: Bicycle Power Meter

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Original and live documents for all of the following sections can be found in the Problem Definition Documents directory. Also for a breakdown of the work containing items such as the team schedule, expectations from the team, and preliminary risk management these items can be seen at the Planning & Execution page.

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

At the end of this phase, we want to have a solid, finalized version of our problem statement, customer requirements, and engineering requirements. We also want to provide ourselves with a clear, well defined path moving forward into the next phase which is the System Design Phase.

Project Summary

A bicycle power meter is a device used by professional and amateur cyclists in order to show the cyclist their power output on the bicycle. The RIT Cycling Team approached this MSD team to provide a power meter for their ImagineRIT bicycle blender exhibit. Their desire is to have this device take the input force from the cyclist and display their power output and calories burned. The current devices on the market which provide these features are not quite instantaneous. There is a lag associated with the time between the rider exerting force on the bike and when the rider receives feedback from the system.

The goal of this project is to develop a functioning power meter for the bicycle blender exhibit. In order to achieve this task the MSD team aims to improve upon the communication speed between the power meter sensors and the display in existing devices. This will assist in achieving a more instantaneous system and closer to real-time display.

The following is a link to a one page summary for this project. This one page summary then led to brainstorming ideas for the various ways in which this device could be used.

Use Cases

The use scenarios that were thought up by the MSD team are shown in the following photos:
Use Scenario for the RIT Cycling Team's ImagineRIT bicycle blender exhibit

Use Scenario for the RIT Cycling Team's ImagineRIT bicycle blender exhibit

Use Scenario for a competitive cyclist

Use Scenario for a competitive cyclist

Use Scenario for a non-competitive cyclist or a fitness enthusiast

Use Scenario for a non-competitive cyclist or a fitness enthusiast

Original Documents

The original document for the use cases of the bicycle power meter as well as the revisions that were made to the use scenarios can be found within the Use Scenarios sub-directory.

These use scenarios then allowed for the MSD team to be able to provide some project goals and key deliverables that would be needed to satisfy the use of the bicycle power meter in each of these various situations.

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

The key deliverables and the expected outcomes of this project are shown below:
  1. Develop a finished, working product
  2. The finished product will meet all customer requirements
  3. The finished product will be user friendly for both the primary customer (RIT Cycling Team) and end users (ImagineRIT visitors and professional/amateur cyclists)
  4. Successful presentation/exhibition at ImagineRIT
  5. To create an easily perceived link between the power exerted when cycling and the health benefits (i.e. calories burned)
  6. To improve upon current power meter technology (available on the market)
    • Increase communications speed between the meter itself and the cycling computer
    • Develop a more portable/easily removable and installable product

After a set of key deliverables were created it was time to take these goals to our customer, the RIT Cycling Team, and ask them a few questions to gain a better understanding of what they desired in our device which would be used in their ImagineRIT exhibit. The goal of these questions was to discover what features we would want to include in this device that would satisfy our customers needs.

Customer Interview Questions

The outcome and takeaways from the customer interview can be found here. This interview with our customer then laid out a solid foundation for us to define the customer requirements for this project.

Customer Requirements (Needs)

The purpose of the customer requirements is to take the outcomes from the customer interview and to put these needs into a list of priority items. All of the high priority customer requirements will be incorporated into the device and the low priority items will be incorporated based on practicality, budget, and available time to add these to the design.

Customer Requirements (Ranked by Importance) for the Bicycle Power Meter

Customer Requirements (Ranked by Importance) for the Bicycle Power Meter

Original Documents

The details of the customer interview that led to the customer requirements, the preliminary customer requirements, as well as the live document for the customer requirements can be found in the Problem Definition Documents sub-directory.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

After completing the Customer Requirements, these were then used to form the Engineering Requirements. The Engineering Requirements are quantitative and have values that are measurable and testable that will be used to assist in the design of the deliverable product to our customer.
Engineering Requirements for the Bicycle Power Meter

Engineering Requirements for the Bicycle Power Meter

The live document for the Engineering Requirements can be found using the Problem Definition Documents sub-directory. Creating the Engineering Requirements for this projects also encouraged the MSD team to be conscious of the possible constraints that could be involved with this particular project.


The constraints for this project are as follows:

House of Quality

After laying out both the customer and engineering requirements it was necessary to match up each of the engineering requirements to a particular customer requirement. The reason for doing this is to ensure that all of the customer requirements will be met and incorporated into the device. Another reason for performing this is to ensure that we are not adding any engineering requirements into this device that serve no purpose in satisfying our customer.
House of Quality

House of Quality

The live document as well as the previous revisions for the House of Quality can be found within the Problem Definition Documents sub-directory of the Problem Definition Documents.


The following are potential risks that our MSD team could face during this project:

Technical Risks

Resource Risks

Safety Risks

Environmental/Social Risks

Design Review Materials

After the Gate Review for the problem definition phase our MSD team had some key points and feedback to take away from the review. The following are the main topics and feedback that was provided to our MSD team from the review panel:

These notes from the gate review led our team to go back to our problem definition items such as the customer requirements, engineering requirements and constraints to review them and update them with correct elements in each category. This led our team to develop a list of key action items as well as plans for moving into the next phase of the project.

Original Document

The document for the notes from the gate review can be found within the Problem Definition Documents page.

Plans for next phase

The MSD team also came up with a defined path moving forward for the next phase of this project. This path moving forward will help this team as we complete the system design as the next phase. Our path moving forward is as follows:

The original document can be found here.

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