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.

  • Ducati and MIT team up on a project. Retrofittable, smart bike wheel/motor controlled via bluetooth http://bit.ly/7jXMRa vi asphaltandrubber

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  • giova

    very nice I love this design, why didn’t somebody do this before. WOW I”m impressed. I want one.

  • andrew

    What a load of crap! I don’t need my bike to network with social sites, provide me with updates about traffic congestion (traffic? what does traffic mean to a bicycle?!?) or to act as my personal trainer.

    I think a bicycle needs Bluetooth link like the proverbial fish needs a bicycle. I can just see it… ‘Road assistance? Help, somebody hacked into my wheel!”

    But what I do expect from a power-assisted vehicle is to provide propulsion. How much can this bike provide? Not a lot, if all it is going to do is store the energy that *I* would have to provide in the first place. Electric engine without batteries is about as much use as a combustion engine without a petrol tank – just more dead weight to lug around. It might look good in Copenhagen which I believe is flat as a pancake and where you don’t need much power assistance anyway but I can’t imagine it being any use anywhere else.

    Like most ‘green’ solutions it answers a question that nobody asked and ignores the actual needs of most people.

  • WRXr

    There are electric bikes all over Asia, many truly sophisticated and better laid out then this. The Dutch company Spartan also makes some super-tech ones.

    Hate to be negative, especially when you know somebody put a lot of work into the project, but I’m not seeing any real advantages here:

    1. It offers connectivity which the rider may or may not want, OK. Cant’ really say that is an advantage.

    2. It has regenerative braking. How much can it really extend a ride? Also, on a bike, unlike a car, if you run out of volts you can keep on pedaling, so again, I’m not really seeing the necessity.