MIT Senseable City Lab have developed a stunning wheel which can operate itself if you use your brakes while riding. Having almost the same concept with hybrid cars out there, this wheel can store energy into its battery operated motor inside when braking power is about to applied. Commercial products need to be matured a little bit; let's say a couple of years? Who knows...
This wheel which is by no means not different than an ordinary bicycle wheel is equipped with a couple of instruments just attached to its core design. But what the hack are they? Well, let's start with the basic question. Why this wheel is called “Copenhagen Wheel?”
Answer is pretty easy. The inventor behind this concept is Danish. For those who may not have known this, Copenhagen is a city in Denmark. It's in fact the capital city of Denmark. And what is so special with Copenhagen? This city has been officially announced as “Bike City” by UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale). Copenhagen is the most adopted city according to cyclists in the whole world. According to wikipedia data, almost 750.000 miles are covered every day by cycling people through out this city.
Lets get back to our wheel. This wheel has been unearthed last year in December during a conference related to climate. Reason behind this event is lying in the supporters' nature. Italian Ministry of Environment and world famous brand Ducati is also backing up this project. Main concept may seem radically an adaptation of hybrid car technology into a bicycle but protecting the environment is one step ahead. To strengthen the bonds with this concept, some sort of sensors are also bundled into this project, making this wheel aware of air pollution. It's also designed to share collected data across the networks via smart phone connectivity.
Brilliant idea, with a stunning simple design. Will it work? It seems so. But to some level of course. It works if you're not one of those guys who think this Northern European wheel may be an other reason for thieves to steal your techno-powered bicycle.
Please note that, all of the images are courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab. These photogrpahs have been taken by talented photographer Max Tomasinelli