Thursday, 17 Dec, 2009 Technology

Latest Invention: Bicycle Wheel that Collects and Stores Kinetic Energy


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Researchers from MIT came up with a Bluetooth-enabled bicycle wheel. Their new invention allows riders to take advantage of the built-in sensors in order to keep track of their friends, fitness and traffic.

Dubbed the Copenhagen Wheel, the new intention is able to collect and wisely redistribute kinetic energy. According to the director of the project Carlo Ratti, a greater number of people in Copenhagen shifted from cars to bicycles and this trend continues spreading to other major European cities, including Paris and Barcelona.

Ratti explains: "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 project director also mentioned that the new invention makes use of a technology that resembles the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, which played an important role in Formula One racing during the last few years, bringing to a small revolution within the industry.

When the rider hits the brakes, the kinetic energy is recovered by an electric motor installed in the wheel. The energy is then stored by the built-in batteries for further use. "The bike wheel contains all you need so that no sensors or additional electronics need to be added to the frame and an existing bike can be retrofitted with the blink of an eye," said Ratti.

It is worth mentioning that the new invention was created in collaboration with Ducati Energia and the Italian Ministry of the Environment. The bicycle will enter the production phase in 2010.

Posted by Maxriter

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