MIT researchers have debuted the ‘Copenhagen Wheel‘ a revolutionary new bicycle wheel that uses technology to transform any bicycle into a platform for individual behavioral change. The ‘Wheel’ is revolutionary because it allows riders to collect, track, and share data, helping them to visualize the impact their biking has on their local environment, personal health, and social life every time they pedal.
The ‘Wheel’ uses Bluetooth, kinetic energy, sensors, and mobile phones to achieve the following:
- Storing kinetic energy created when a rider brakes for later use when a rider is traveling uphill or when traveling long distances
- Uses a series of sensors and Bluetooth to connect to smart phones, which can be mounted on the handlebars, to monitor speed and distance, directions, proximity of fellow friends riding and even air pollution data
- Collects ‘Green Miles’ — similar to frequent flier miles — based on behavior beneficial to the environment
As described by Assaf Biderman, associate director of the ‘Copenhagen Wheel,’ the project is part of a move towards the use of connected and smart infrastructure to make personal and community life better:
“The Copenhagen Wheel is part of a more general trend: that of inserting intelligence in our everyday objects and of creating a smart support infrastructure around ourselves for everyday life. For example, the Wheel has a smart lock: if somebody tries to steal it, it goes into a mode where the brake regenerates the maximum amount of power, and sends you a text message. So in the worst case scenario the thief will have charged your batteries before you get back your bike.”
The City of Copenhagen is currently considering placing the first order and even thinking of using bicycles retrofitted with the Copenhagen Wheel to replace city employee cars as part of the City’s goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025.