MIT’s Bike Bike Revolution

Perhaps for every rant on consumer idiocy, I should reclaim balance by highlighting smart consumer decisions. Hence today’s post on MIT’s Copenhagen Wheel.

MIT's Copenhagen Wheel

Check her out, she’s a beauty: a bright red wheel hub in which relatively inexpensive electronics work to give back power and information to the rider.

“The Wheel uses a technology similar to the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), which has radically changed Formula One racing over the past couple of years,” says Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory and the Copenhagen Wheel project. “When you brake, your kinetic energy is recuperated by an electric motor and then stored by batteries within the wheel, so that you can have it back to you when you need it. 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.”

Smog senors, Bluetooth connections to iPhones…and theft reporting?

Assaf Biderman, associate director of the project, says

“…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.”

According to the press release, the city of Copenhagen is looking to be the first carbon-neutral city by 2025. I’ll be over 55 by then, so pedaling around on a smart bike while vacationing in Denmark may be just the thing to look forward to.

Yours with butter,

Bonus link of the day: At the Copenhagen protests on climate change was my friend, Neil Tangri, who works with GAIA: The Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance, The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. Check them out.

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