Unveiled at the COP15 United Nations Climate Conference in Denamrk, the Copenhagen Wheel system was developed by Ducati Energia, MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, and Progical Solutions for the Kobenhavns Kommune (City of Copenhagen), and is an electrical drive system that can be added to any bicycle to help assist the rider with a boost of extra power. Along with its motor assist, the Copenhagen Wheel has a variety of sensors that relay information back to the rider via a Bluetooth connection that syncs with the rider’s smart phone (iPhone used in the demonstration). It’s a pretty cool concept, check after the jump a video and more.
Using a combination of dynamo’s and regenerative braking, the Copenhagen Wheel charges both as the rider pedals down the street, and during braking. The hub-centric battery packs can then be used when the rider encounters a hill or rough terrain. The Copenhagen Wheel also has a bevy of sensors that not only relay information like GPS location, routes, etc, but also measure things like the pollution levels in the air.
Controlled via smartphone, the Copenhagen Wheel addds a level of sophistication to bicycling. You can use your phone to unlock and lock the bike, change gears, and select how much the motor assists with its electric power. During use, the Wheel’s sensing unit is also capturing the rider’s effort level and information about the Wheel’s surroundings, including road conditions, carbon monoxide, NOx, noise, ambient temperature, and relative humidity. After riding, a cyclist can access this data through the smartphone or online, and use it to plan healthier bike routes or achieve exercise goals.
Perhaps the greatest power of the Copenhagen Wheel is its ability to share the information gathered. This has tremendous value for cities like Copenhagen, which are extremely green-oriented. The Copenhagen Wheel allows the city to have a sources for information sampling environmental & road conditions. This application goes beyond the obviously “green” label the project has been given by its creators. It can allow cities like Copenhagen to get real-time traffic flows and road-conditions at a level that hasn’t been achieved before.