Monday, September 8, 2008


A few years back another technology teacher and I had seen a video of a robotic leg that used gyros to help it balance. Later we sat drinking refreshments, eating pretzels and wondered why gyro technology had never been applied to wheelchairs or bicycles. I guess it has, at least for bikes. A company called Gyrobike has developed flywheel technology for your family bicycle. It should make learning to ride a bike easier since it is will be easier to balance at slower speeds. Here's a quote from the website that explains why:
Gyroscopes are spinning wheels that exhibit a special property called precession. When a force is put at the top of a spinning wheel (such as a rider falling on a bicycle), rather than falling, the gyroscope simply turns, or precesses, in the direction of the fall. This occurs on normal bike wheels when the bike is traveling at higher speeds. Hence, it is easier to ride a bicycle once you "get going". GyroBike takes advantage of this property even when the bike is moving slowly. The fly wheel inside the GyroBike spins independently of the bike wheel. Thus, even when a rider is moving very slowly on his or her bicycle, the precession of the GyroBike is still felt. If the rider begins to fall, the GyroBike causes the front wheel to precess under the rider's weight, restabilizing the bike.

See this article to learn a bit more about the four engineering students who developed this idea as part of a class project at Dartmouth.

[Image: Captured from Wired:"GyroBike Teaches Kids How To Kill a Spill":

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