Over the past few weeks, we've been mentioning the James Dyson Award, effectively the world's most prestigious student-design competition. Yesterday, the winner of the award's U.S. round was announced: The Copenhagen Wheel from MIT's SENSEable City Lab, first debuted at COP15 last year – an ingenious hybrid wheel that generates electricity during braking, then uses that energy to turn the pedal-bike into an electric one for difficult uphills and long distances. The idea: By providing self-contained power generation, the wheel will make bike commutes less burdensome and thus help increase the use of alternative transportation.
Unlike a number of proposed innovations in alternative transportation, the Copenhagen Wheel is a fully functional prototype and, with proper funding, is expected to be in production by the end of the year, retailing around $600 – a more than reasonable price given the kinds of transportation expenses it displaces for someone who replaces a car or even a traditional electric bike or moped with a Copenhagen-Wheel-powered bike.
The Copenhagen Wheel joins nine other international winners, including a life raft that doubles as full-on shelter, a revolutionary public bike secrity system that makes any bike virtually theft-proof, and a device that turns your cell phone into a car key.
The overall winner will be announced on October 5 this year and will receive $15,000 for the team, plus an equal amount for their school department.
via FastCo Design
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.