iPhone ebike control

MIT has come up with an interesting take on e-bikes, the Copenhagen wheel. http://ping.fm/gPqzr

Benefits:
– It’s a self-contained electric wheel that replaces your regular bike wheel
– ipod/iphone control of the motor
– no externally rechargeable battery (= lightweight)
– has regen braking, giving a bit of a boost upon taking off from a stop

Drawbacks:
– Has no externally rechargeable battery, so only helps a bit upon acceleration. Forget help on hills.
– probably expensive (though price unknown)
– will add weight to the bike

The iPhone/iPod control is neat. I had an idea of an iPod/iPhone control for any regular ebike about a year ago (via Bluetooth). Like a CycleAnalyst (http://ping.fm/KTXEx) on steroids. Just think about it… the iPod/iPhone have accelerometers in them. You could measure acceleration, power input vs output, efficiency, and a whole lot more. The iPhone also has a GPS. This would be the ultimate e-bike cycle computer. I’d like to implement this, but it will be a somewhat expensive project. Crowd funding, anyone? If you like this idea, drop me a line.

Now, back to the Copenhagen wheel… aside from the nifty iPod interface, I’m not clear on what the point is. MIT seems to have a great PR/Marketing machine for “inventions” like this, but would I use one? While I can’t say for sure until I get my hands on one, the preliminaries don’t sound like something of use to me.

I use my electric assist mainly for the hills, and to maintain a higher overall speed while commuting. I have no problem with acceleration after stops on my own leg power. So this wheel wouldn’t seem to gain much of anything for the way I ride.

I’m curious what you think. See you in the comments or on Twitter/Facebook/etc.

2 thoughts

  1. I am very interested in your iphone control for ebike software. Are you interested to work with us? We produce ebike.
    Looking forward to hear you.

  2. Elise I’m working on using an iPhone to display the same sort of data that my Cycle Analyst currently displays: amps, volts, watts, miles, and various combinations of those. Apparently for a long time Apple restricted what sort of hardware can be connected to an iPhone. I’m using the recently released RedPark cable to connect an iPhone to an Arduino open-source microprocessor which will read that voltage and amps from the controller. Maybe in phase two I can use the iPhone to turn on my bike lights etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.