By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Cities
Researchers at MIT have engineered a "smart" bicycle wheel that can store and release energy.
Unveiled Tuesday at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, the wheel is intended to encourage riders to go farther instead of relying on car or bus transportation.
The wheel has a battery that stores energy when the brakes are applied, then return it when you need it most -- say, a hill, or when trying to merge into fast-moving traffic. A sensor inside the hub measures "effort" used when pedaling forward to adjust when to release the stored energy.
"Over the past few years we have seen a kind of biking renaissance, which started in Copenhagen and has spread from Paris to Barcelona to Montreal," said Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT Senseable City Laboratory, in a statement. "It's sort of like 'Biking 2.0'--whereby cheap electronics allow us to augment bikes and convert them into a more flexible, on-demand system."
The wheel is also equipped with Bluetooth technology, which means it can exchange data with a smartphone or other mobile device. Using a special iPhone application, for example, the rider can monitor his or her speed, direction, distance traveled, traffic conditions, weather conditions and other riders.
Since the wheel incorporates all the electronic circuitry inside the hub, nothing needs to be retrofit to the bike for it to work. Better still, a special spoke layout allows you install the hub on any rim.
The wheel will arrive to market within a year and will be sold by online retailers, consumer electronics vendors, and possibly bike stores, the team says. It's expected to cost between $500 and $1,000.
"The Copenhagen Wheel is part of a more general trend: that of inserting intelligence in our everyday objects and of creating a smart support infrastructure around ourselves for everyday life," associate project director Assaf Biderman said in a statement.
Here's a video of MIT's smart wheel:
Dec 15, 2009
Wow this technology is awesome, the idea of manufacturing the tire along with a battery is well suited for you to travel, and I loved reading this blog. http://www.tyre-shopper.co.uk/branches/coalville
Zodarr, it looks from the video that Bluetooth is used to control the wheel from your smartphone, presumably to simplify installation. But your general point is not misguided - smarteverything, bluetooth everywhere; like it or lump it, it seems to be the way of the future.
BLUETOOTH? In a WHEEL? Are you M.I.T. people SANE? What do you do next time? Bluetooth in every ****ink strand of grass? Come on, don't always try to invent/construct thing full of electronics. The idea is not bad, the wheel storing energy, then releasing on demand. But i'm sure it could be made only using electric/mechanic components (electric is NOT electronic). But this is just my opinion...