Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Airport vending machine ‘restaurant’ offers gourmet menu

Manufacturers are always trying to improve the design of bikes, but rarely make efforts to change the traditional structure of the devices – aside from startups such as Loopwheels, for example. Autobike is another innovative company that hopes to bring automatic gear shifting to two-wheel transport. One of the reasons consumers may avoid getting started on a bike in the first place is having to remember when and how to change gears when the terrain changes. With the aim to make riding a simpler affair, the Autobike features a mechanism that sets the gear ratio automatically based on rider speed and grade of incline. A dynamo located at the front of the bike generates electricity to power a small on-board computer that determines the factors needed to set the gear. The system uses a continuously variable planetary gear hub that enables smooth continuous transitions. Because different riders have different rhythms when they cycle – something that can affect which gear ratio is best for them – users can set their cadence through buttons located on the bike, or through a Bluetooth connection with their smartphone.

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