The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a bicycle wheel that works as an energy storage system, electric motor, bluetooth interface, trip computer, and electric toothbrush. I may be mistaken about the electric toothbrush part, but hey, why not?
Power-producing accessories like hub dynamos are nothing new, but this wheel is totally unlike its old-school brethren. It stores kinetic energy when the rider brakes, which can then be reused when ascending hills or trying to get to work on time. The wheel's many other capabilities are aimed at keeping the rider informed about local traffic conditions, documenting and sharing route information, and integrating cyclists' data into social networking sites. It is also a clever theft deterrent.
"The Copenhagen Wheel is part of a more general trend: that of inserting intelligence in our everyday objects and of creating a smart support infrastructure around ourselves for everyday life," says Assaf Biderman, associate director of the project. “For example, the Wheel has a smart lock: if somebody tries to steal it, it goes into a mode where the brake regenerates the maximum amount of power, and sends you a text message. So in the worst case scenario the thief will have charged your batteries before you get back your bike."
The device has been dubbed the "Copenhagen Wheel" as it was introduced at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change on December 15. The City of Copenhagen plans on integrating the wheel into its plans to be the first carbon-neutral city by 2025.