Self-balancing wheel: the end of training wheels

This is a bicycle wheel that can be installed in any bike and the wheel balances itself eliminating the need for training wheels. You can stand the wheel on it’s own and let go and it won’t fall over, it’s quite remarkable to watch. It’s a clever application of a gyroscope.

You’ve experienced for yourself that when you’re riding a bike it’s easier to stay upright the faster you’re moving. When you’re moving at a slow speed is when you’re most unstable.

This is because the spinning wheels of a normal bicycle are acting as gyroscopes; the faster the wheels are spinning the more they resist a change in orientation (i.e. they resist tipping over).

This gyrowheel has a disc inside it that is spinning very quickly so even when the wheel itself is stationary, the fast spinning disc inside provides the same benefit to balancing. That’s why this wheel, when absolutely stationary, can stand upright without falling over.

What other products would benefit from being able to stand upright in what would normally be an unstable position that required careful balancing?

5 responses to this post

  1. Karin says:

    As physiotherapist I get excited! Can this in, any way, be turned into a tool that help our fragile elderly with poor balance? Falls among our elderly cost a lot (health care, home help and nursing homes) and cause a lot of personal suffering.

  2. krschacht says:

    @Karin: interesting thought. Maybe you could develop a cane/walker which has the same stability as current walkers but is more compact. Imagine a cane, a single pole, that you can hold upright and let go and it remains upright without falling over. I don’t know if it could be made that compact, but possible. Maybe with a dozen 1″ spinning wheels inside stacked inside the cane.

  3. Scott says:

    Variable speed gyroscope would make for a great unicycle trainer; faster for beginners, slower as you get better.

  4. krschacht says:

    Haha, it would be great for learning to ride a unicycle :)

  5. Ron A. Zajac says:

    Sorry, but I’m not that impressed. I note people cite other applications (like for the elderly), but pitching it to kids learning to ride a bike seems a little silly.

    I have a very fond memory of seeing my youngest daughter thru training wheels, and I can’t see how higher-tech is going to accentuate these kinds of narratives for anyone; if anything, it threatens to distract from the human element.

    Again: It’s a (fascinating) solution in search of a problem: My best wishes as you ferret out these problems.

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