Bikes of Tomorrow: Design with Its Knee Down
Jordan Yerman | May 23, 2008 at 12:20 pmby
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Yeah, another bike story. Anyway, Lim's class is in pursuit of the next goal in green vehicles: not just retooling an existing concept, but reimagining it from the ground up, creating a whole new motoring experience. Some of the results are striking indeed.
Jake Loniak is a Transportation Design student in his 6th term. His project called ‘Deus Ex Machina’ (God Out of a Machine) is an electric, single passenger, vertically parking, and wearable motorcycle. The immediate impression is that of a sci-fi futuristic robot, but ‘what if?’ What if you could become one with the motorcycle with its human muscular-skeletal system? With seven artificial vertebrae behind the helmet that support the rider’s head you could control the ‘Deus Ex Machina’ via 36 pneumatic muscles and 2 linear actuators with your body. Leaning forward the rider extends into the more traditional riding position but there is nothing traditional about this machine. Perhaps stemming from his background as a US Marine, Loniak’s design was inspired by Biomechatronics and nature. Biomechatronics comprises aspects of biology, mechanics, and electronics that are equally present throughout his design. The formal shape of the Deus is naturally biological because the features, the helmet, the arms, and the vertebrae recall human physiognomy, while the mechanics and electronics are worn as an exoskeleton. Exposing these elements beautifully highlights the contrast between machine and human, making quite a lyric comment on our relationship with the objects we make. This is another aspect of motorcycle design that separates itself quite sharply from car design, while the latter seeks to hide all its components the former shows them off (sometimes the bigger being better!).
If constructed, the designer believes that it could achieve a top speed of 75mph (0-60mph in 3 seconds) with a recharge time of 15 minutes and cycle time of one hour.
Still, the designs are compelling for track use, and there could well be a street-side solution in there as well. It's exciting to see such an old design get such a drastic makeover.
The next step would be one of these.