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This Device Literally Reinvents the Wheel - Bicycling May Never Be the Same

Sarah Parvini - TakePart
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February 7, 2014

The Copenhagen Wheel (Copenhagen Wheel)

Conventional wisdom says you can't reinvent the wheel. But that didn't stop Massachusetts-based start-up Superpedestrian from engineering a device that by and large does just that.

Developed by MIT researchers, the Copenhagen Wheel is a hubcap-like disk that attaches to the rear wheel, turning any bike, whether a $10,000 eighteen-speed racer or a beach cruiser—into a zero-emissions hybrid electric vehicle.

The disk’s motor, which automatically kicks in when the device’s computerized sensors determine the rider needs help (think large hills), runs on regenerative braking, with the 48-volt lithium ion battery recharging when cyclists travel downhill or squeeze the brakes. The e-wheel can go for 30 miles at 20 mph before running out of juice.

"The motor integrates itself with the rider's motion very seamlessly," cocreator Assaf Biderman told the Associated Press. "It's almost like having a riding companion riding together with you, making the ride easier, simpler."

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