25 September 2010

Copenhagen Wheel Takes E-Bikes to Next Level

Have an iPhone? Want an electric bike? The smart folks at MIT recently have unveiled a wheel that transforms your old bike into a hybrid e-bike that even provides feedback on traffic, pollution, congestion and road conditions, all in real time.

The Copenhagen wheel (unveiled recently at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change) works by storing energy as you step on the brakes in a special battery, which then returns that power when you need it to climb a hill or boost your speed. A sensor inside the hub measures your effort when you ride to provide that extra ‘oomph’ precisely when you need it, extending the distances you might consider bike-able.

Using sensors and a Bluetooth connection, the Copenhagen wheel can actually talk to your iPhone mounted on the handlebars. Through the Copenhagen wheel app, you can check your speed, direction, and distance traveled and even get information on traffic conditions and smog. The Copenhagen wheel will be available within a year for $500-$1000 (the standard cost of an e-bike) through online retailers, consumer electronics vendors, and possibly bike stores.

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