Gyrowheel to keep new bike riders upright (w/ Video)

Oct 21, 2009 by Lin Edwards weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new device called the Gyrowheel could soon revolutionize the way children learn to ride bicycles, and they will be able to learn on their own, without training wheels, and in as little as half an hour.

The Gyrowheel has a fast spinning disk inside that can spin for up to three hours on a full charge of its built-in rechargeable NiMH battery. The spinning disk is completely enclosed for safety. The Gyrowheel replaces the front wheel of the child's bike, and the spinning disk inside keeps the bike upright and stable, even when a wobbling child is aboard.

The Gyrowheel has three speeds, with the highest speed being the most stable. At this speed the wheel is able to resist knocks and shoves even when it is stationary, and without a bicycle attached can travel upright, letting itself down gently when it stops. The gives the bicycle high stability even at very slow speeds.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

More information: Official website: www.thegyrobike.com/
Update 12/09/2009: The wheels are now available for purchase through the Gyrobike website.

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 13

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CreepyD
5 / 5 (3) Oct 21, 2009
This is pure genius. I hope it becomes available for adult bikes, not all adults learned to ride when they were kids.
LariAnn
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 21, 2009
The surprise is that this device wasn't invented a long time ago. Gyroscopic principles have been known for a long time now. Makes you wonder . . .
RayCherry
Oct 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
El_Nose
1 / 5 (1) Oct 21, 2009
I am sorry this is bad... you are not really learning the stabalizing skills of riding a bike you have a gyroscope making the adjustments for you. If the kid in the video had really learned that fast -- and none of of learned after three tries -- we could put her on a normal bike and she would be fine.

This is training wheels that are internal -- just because you cannot see the training wheels does not mean you know how to ride a bike.
disgruntleddave
not rated yet Oct 21, 2009
NOOOOOOOO!

I've thought about this kind of thing for a while. I do have a unicycle and first thought about it for the sake of unicycling and did make the extension to regular bikes. Oh well!

Like RayCherry said, surely many other people, myself included, have thought of this and made nothing of it.

El Nose, the fact that it doesn't provide complete stability tells me it will still help learn and isn't a direct analog to training wheels. You stay upright on a bike BECAUSE of the gyroscopic effect of the wheels. This is simply increasing the gyroscopic effect, giving the bike more stability (but not complete stability like training wheels), meaning a rider still has to learn how to stabilize - they just have more time to do it now than they did before, to start.
Mayday
1 / 5 (1) Oct 21, 2009
It looks like this would be great for learning the unicycle, but the easiest way to teach or to learn how to ride a bicycle is to first learn how to ride a small 2-wheeled scooter(like the Razor and its derivitives). The transition up to a real bicycle is usually very easy with very few mishaps.
jldb
5 / 5 (1) Oct 21, 2009
If a child starts to fall over won't the gyroscopic precession cause the front wheel to jerk to one side? So instead of falling over the child would end up flipping over the handlebars...
disgruntleddave
5 / 5 (1) Oct 21, 2009
If a child falls over sideways, the precession will cause the front wheel to turn inwards - the same way you turn the wheel when you lean in order to execute a turn on a bicycle.

The falling over is what is slowed because of the angular momentum of the wheel. The whole idea is that instead of just flopping over, the bike slowly tilts (and turns) giving the rider enough time to self-right.

I don't see how anyone would flip over handlebars because of the tilt and turn of the bike/handlebars.
sender
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
great safety systems on modern motorbikes could be developed with these gyros
sender
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
On another note seeing these systems on baloons and aircraft wings could offer some level of stability that otherwise highly fault sensitive devices such as springs, levers, weights, hydraulics are in place for.
disgruntleddave
5 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2009
Not quite.

Stability can be a bad thing. Modern motorbikes are often made to be maneuverable. Even large touring motorcycles have to be easily maneuverable.

A high angular momentum means that it would be harder to turn and tilt. This basically means that it's harder to get it to do what you want. Sure, it'll stay upright, but if you're going fast and need to turn quickly to avoid crashing into something, with the added stability you're out of luck - you simply can't turn the wheel enough and tilt enough to turn.

Putting this on airplanes makes no sense. Airplanes are already stable (in most modes) by virtue of their design. Not to mention, the spinning of the engines does add some stability by a similar effect.

I don't know what you're talking about with respect to fault sensitive devices such as springs, levers weights and hydraulics on airplanes or balloons.
Ulg
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2009
I could see it used on planes for tighter yaw if it has free pitch for landings, the engines dampen heading and pitch- that could eliminate a lot of downdraft problems encountered at airports, although they would be on a different axis. It is ideal for training wheels though, and perhaps could work on a motorcycle providing it had free yaw- you could still perform yaw axis maneuvering while reducing the herky jerky oscillations that accompanies many motor cycle crashes by stabilizing heading which will indirectly reduce pitch changes- it would also add some resistance to turning by stabilizing heading so it should be computer controlled for when it is applied.
d44x
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
These things have been around for a while for ships: http://en.wikiped...ing_gyro
designmemetic
not rated yet Oct 26, 2009
could this be modified to work as regenerative breaking. I'd love a bicycle wheel that would save energy when I stopped at a light and release it when the light turns green. maybe it could be used to make the up hills less steep and take up extra speed on the down hills?