This Gadget Freak review looks at a wireless pedal assist system that turns your bicycle into a hybrid e-bike, construction kits aimed at girls, and a glove that connects to your smartphone. We will also look at a vintage gadget freak that uses a glove to control an airplane.
The Copenhagen Wheel
Transform your bicycle into a hybrid e-bike by replacing your rear wheel with The Copenhagen Wheel. This wireless wheel captures the energy you use while riding and braking around town and stores it in the integrated 48V lithium battery pack for when you need a little boost. Battery life is 1,000 cycles and charge time is four hours.
There is also an app that works with your bike that allows you to lock or unlock the bike, change gears, and to decide how much motor, if any, you want to use. There's a sensing unit in the wheel that can track information about your ride and surroundings like the current road conditions, traffic, and pollution levels.
This project, by Superpedestrian and in cooperation with MIT, will start shipping this summer and wheels cost $799. If you pre-order you can get a limited-edition wheel for your bike that is handcrafted and built in Cambridge, Mass.
Some of our own Gadget Freaks have spent time improving the biking experience. Check out this bike that shifts itself and this bike that has a shock absorber that can be adjusted using a touchscreen to affect the bike's ride.
Construction tools for girls
Goldie Blox founder and CEO Debbie Sterling set out to "disrupt the pink isle" and that is exactly what she is doing with Goldie Blox -- construction tools aimed at girls.
These story and construction kits follow Goldie, a girl inventor, as she uses her creativity and building skills to create an engineering concept. Concepts include creating a belt drive and a wheel and axle. Although the books offer design suggestions, the pieces in the project are compatible with each other, making the design options endless. Not only do these tools allow girls to get hands-on building experience, it also teaches them basic engineering principles and gives them the ability to solve problems.
By getting girls interested in engineering at a young age, Goldie Blox hopes to inspire girls to become engineers. Some of these young inventors' projects are featured on the site, and these girls are getting pretty creative. This double launcher with targets is one of my favorites so far.
Talk to the glove
The cold just got fun with hi-Call, a glove that allows you to use your hand as a telephone.
This glove uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, and a microphone and speaker are built into the fingers. Hi-Call vibrates to let you know when someone is calling and you can answer and end calls with a button on the glove so your hands will always stay warm. Talk time with these is up to 20 hours and you can charge the gloves with a micro USB cable. They come in sizes for men and women and retail from $38 to $65 in the US.
Vintage Gadget Freak: Gloved hand controls airplane's flight
Using an accelerometer and a handful of sensors, a team of Colorado State University students has created the Spatial Hand Remote. The gadget controls the flight of a remote control airplane through the sensors in a glove.
The movement of the plane follows the movement of the glove. As the hand in the glove tilts to the right or left, so does the plane. Sensors attached to fingers are used to control the throttle, roll reverse, and the on-off switch. The user's hands control the plane like a maestro controling an orchestra.