I recently road one of these, and it was so much fun! It would’ve been incredibly helpful riding in San Francisco. So, the Copenhagen Wheel by Superpedestrian is a product that came out of the MIT Senseable Lab. Essentially, it is an installable back wheel that turns your bike into a hybrid electric bike. The red wheel hub is basically a computer and a motor. As you pedal, there’s a motor to help assist you that you can control via an app.
Through the app, you can lock your bike, change gears and modify the level of assistance. The coolest part is that the wheel captures data about your ride– your level of effort, temp, pollution levels, road conditions, carbon monoxide, noise and route. As a person interested in urban innovation + cycling information, I think this is really interesting data– you could potentially learn and aggregate data to find out about behaviors of cyclists if it was widely used.
Currently, the downside are 1) It’s $1200 to buy (and thereby, largely inaccessible for the average rider). 2) You have to plug it in. Thus, it assumes you can keep your bike inside or near a power source. It would be cooler if by pedaling, it could recharge the motor.
Source Info: http://senseable.mit.edu/copenhagenwheel/
Image 1: http://news.mit.edu/sites/mit.edu.newsoffice/files/images/2009/20091215141530-3.jpg