When I started riding in Zwift and read here on Zwift Insider that putting a fan in front of you is a good idea for cooling, I immediately saw the potential of combining my two hobbies, cycling and tinkering. Building a fan that emulated the wind associated with your speed in Zwift seemed quite possible, so I set out to build such a device.
Creating the Solution
I found an open source project online that exposed the Zwift metrics I could make use of. So I went to my cardboard box full of components and got hacking! Not being a great coder I asked for help from a friend in writing the program. And it when it all came together, it worked!
Then I saw on the Zwift forums that other people also discussed the possibility of having a Zwift controlled fan, so I decided to write a manual. And here it is, hosted on Instructables.com.
Only the Beginning
I also read comments online of people who don’t want their fan to mimic riding wind, because they want more wind riding uphill, not less. So in the manual I explain how to link the speed of the fan to your power output or heart rate.
Also, I am thinking about adding a drafting function, so the fan slows down if your are behind another rider. Now that would be a more realistic simulation!
It would be nice if this was only the beginning of this project. I hope other people with real programming skills will add to it! For example, right now the manual works for people with a Mac laptop, because I’m not familiar with Windows machines. And if someone would make something of a settings menu that makes it easy to change at which speeds the fan switches, without going into the code would also be nice.
To make collaboration possible I put the code on github for anyone to calibrate on: https://github.com/justusvervaart/zwift-fan
Finally I would love to hear from people building the fan and get feedback on the manual and the project to make it better. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.