Turn Any Bicycle Into a Smartphone-Controlled, Hybrid E-Bike

by Matt Forcey

 

Smart, responsive and elegant, the Copenhagen Wheel is a new emblem for urban mobility.  It turns the bike you already own, quickly and easily into an electric bike with regeneration and real-time environmental sensing capabilities.The wheel harvests the energy you input while braking and cycling and stores it for when you need a bit of a boost. At the same time, sensors in the wheel are collecting information about air and noise pollution, congestion and road conditions.

The Copenhagen Wheel differs from other electric bikes in that all components are elegantly packaged into one hub. There is no external wiring or bulky battery packs, making it retrofittable into any bike.

Inside the hub, the designers have arranged a motor, 3-speed internal hub gear, batteries, a torque sensor, GPRS and a sensor kit that monitors CO, NOx, noise (db), relative humidity and temperature.  In the future, you will be able to spec out your wheel according to your riding habits and needs.

Lastly, the wheel is controlled through your smartphone and becomes a natural extension of your everyday life. Simply place your phone on the handlebars, and its Bluetooth module syncs with the Bluetooth module in the hub of the Copenhagen Wheel.  You can then use your phone and the  Copenhagen Wheel App to unlock and lock  your bike, change gears, select how much the motor assists you and view other relevant real-time information.

Developed by the MIT SENSEable City Lab, the Copenhagen Wheel is currently in final prototyping phase and will go commercial in June 2011 – the cost will be approximately $600 US per wheel. If you are interested in owning a wheel, producing, licensing or distributing, please join the project’s mailing list so that they can keep in contact with you.

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