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Copenhagen Wheel
April 29, 2010 5:09 PM   Subscribe

The Copenhagen Wheel project transforms ordinary bicycles into hybrid electric bikes that also function as mobile environmental sensing units. [via digital urban]

The wheel can be controlled through an iPhone, using the phone to unlock and lock the bike, change gears and select how much the motor will assist. The wheel's sensors capture information about the surroundings, including: road conditions, carbon monoxide, NOx, noise, ambient temperature and relative humidity.
posted by gruchall (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a useless looking bicycle... it promises so much but I bet you can't even get decent mudguards onto it. I can't imagine how much they'd want to charge for it and then I'd need a "smartphone" to control the blasted thing. Hrmph. Pedal harder if there is a hill, or christ, get some gears. damn fixie kids get off my lawn.
posted by glip at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2010


Isn't plain ordinary cycling enough?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:19 PM on April 29, 2010


It's a wheel, glip. You get mudguards for it by putting it on your bike that already has mudguards.

That said, this is a concept, not a product. If it were realistic it'd be for sale.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:21 PM on April 29, 2010


Heavy rotating mass on bike = Bad Idea

Well, it may be a bit over-rated, but there are a few things to consider
1) Every extra gram of rotating mass affects acceleration.
2) Every extra gram of total mass required more work to move and to raise up (as in climbing a hill).
3) Every extra gram of mass on a bike is extra unsprung mass, which has a negative effect on the ride of the bike.


(website is talking about 10g of mass...)
posted by MechEng at 5:24 PM on April 29, 2010


More concepts, MechEng, but I think maybe you should reconsider your calculations.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:26 PM on April 29, 2010


Bike, cool. Transforms to electric bike, all right. Environmental sensing? Well, I guess it's a student project or whatever, so. iPhone, heh. TO CHANGE GEARS?? Idiots.
posted by DU at 5:38 PM on April 29, 2010


Reportedly it will go into production sometime this year.
posted by gruchall at 5:49 PM on April 29, 2010


Can they make it so that it wraps you in a red metal suit. Oh yea, and doesn't need a bike?
posted by silkyd at 5:54 PM on April 29, 2010


Getting this sort of data would be incredible. Getting decent pollution dispersion data around things like expressways, trains and even power plants is rather difficult. Generally air quality is considered a regional issue & measured accordingly. Note the emphasis on the public access & rich data visualization. This data would be great to know- for example I would not move to the areas of the city depicted with the higher bars/levels of pollution. This sort of mass digital assessing and aggregation is coming and a bike is about as good as any method I can think of, and this data certain to have profound impacts on where people will want to live.
posted by zenon at 6:39 PM on April 29, 2010


A lot of data for those in Canada (different data then that of the copenhagen wheel)

Some EC links:

http://www.atl.ec.gc.ca/pollution/

http://ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/Default.asp?lang=En&n=4B5631F9-1

NPRI : http://www.ec.gc.ca/inrp-npri/default.asp?lang=en

Not a big suprise but, Toronto tends to one of the heavier areas for pollution
posted by MechEng at 7:32 PM on April 29, 2010


You can then use your phone and our Copenhagen Wheel Application to unlock and lock your bike, change gears

I imagine that when they did their user research and asked what people found challenging about their bikes, they were told "changing gears." If the solution is a digital gizmo instead of a lever, then we really are living in the future.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:50 PM on April 29, 2010


2) Every extra gram of total mass required more work to move and to raise up (as in climbing a hill).
3) Every extra gram of mass on a bike is extra unsprung mass, which has a negative effect on the ride of the bike.
The rider makes up the vast majority of the weight on a bicycle. If you want to be able to ride faster and longer, lose weight. Unless you're down to 5% body fat or something -- tuned you're body to optimal riding condition -- worrying about the weight of the bike makes no sense at all, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 11:05 PM on April 29, 2010


I imagine that when they did their user research and asked what people found challenging about their bikes, they were told "changing gears." If the solution is a digital gizmo instead of a lever, then we really are living in the future.

I can imagine someone pushing their way up a hill, struggling, and thinking "oh, let me whip out my iphone, start the app and navigate to the gear changing option..."

(Maybe you're supposed to mount the phone on the handlebars or something)
posted by delmoi at 11:06 PM on April 29, 2010


Maybe the gears they're talking about are inside the hub, driven by the motor, and aren't designed to be changed all the time like a normal derailleur setup when pedaling.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 10:41 PM on May 1, 2010


(Maybe you're supposed to mount the phone on the handlebars or something)

Yeah, delmoi, the MIT project leader in this video from the site starts off by showing people how she inserts her phone on the handlebars (she does it upside down, it turns out, but that's easily corrected).

Since the old one-speed clunker I use around town doesn't have gears, I guess I don't really need to attach a phone to tell me when to shift.
posted by LeLiLo at 4:46 PM on May 2, 2010


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