Tonight in New York, the IDNY Meetup at Humanscale hosted a panel about engineering design in celebration of the James Dyson Award which just announced their 18 national winners. The James Dyson Award is an international design award that aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers. It’s run and supported by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson’s charitable trust. At the panel, the Associate director of SENSEable City Lab at MIT was on hand as a representative of the winning U.S. Copenhagen Wheel project that was developed by a team of his students.
The Copenhagen Wheel is a plug and play device that has the ability to easily transform ordinary bicycles into a hybrid electric-bike with regeneration and real-time sensing capabilities. The Copenhagen Wheel contains a motor inside of it, batteries, and a useful internal gear system which can help cyclists get over hills and longer distances with much less strain. On top of that, it also features environmental and GPS sensors that provide data for cycling-related mobile applications – including an iPhone app. Riders can use the data collected in the App to plan healthier bike routes, the app also provides realtime feedback about their fitness and exercise goals, and they can also use the app to share this data with friends and use it to connect with other cyclists. By sharing this data they’re also enabling the whole community to benefit by creating a larger pool of information. The project was inspired because the team wanted to create more livable and sustainable cities by encouraging more people to use bikes for their transportation.
On hand at the panel, was one of the U.S. finalists, a young woman who created the SeaKettle – a life raft that is able to produce fresh drinking water. SeaKettle is able to provide both insulated, reliable shelter as well as fresh drinking water for this estranged at sea. This is one project that we really, really hope goes into production. Heck, they could’ve used this on Lost too. The international winner for the James Dyson Award will be announced on October 5th.