MIT’s “Copenhagen Wheel,” designed by the university’s SENSEable City Lab, is designed to be a simple addition to any bike that will give it some electric assistant. The benefits are obvious, and it’s scored MIT’s design an award from James Dyson, the vacuum king.
We’ve seen the Copenhagen Wheel before, but now with this kind of award backing it up hopefully it pushes its way toward a real product one day. The motor, battery and everything needed to assist the bike is built right into the cap, meaning you could fit it to the bike you already use instead of having to buy a new one.
Its sleek red hub not only contains a motor, batteries and an internal gear system — helping cyclists overcome hilly terrains and long distances — but also includes environmental and location sensors that provide data for cycling-related mobile applications. Cyclists can use this data to plan healthier bike routes, to achieve their exercise goals or to create new connections with other cyclists. Through sharing their data with friends or their city, they are also contributing to a larger pool of information from which the whole community can benefit.