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Transportation Hardware

Wearable Motorcycle Design 234

A motorcycle design student recently came up with a wearable motorcycle design that, while cool, is unlikely to see public adoption. The bike would be capable of doing 0 to 60 is just 3 seconds with a top speed of 75 miles-per-hour and would theoretically be controlled by 36 pneumatic muscles and 2 linear actuators. I would imagine the results of a crash would be much like being strapped to the hood of your car during a collision — bonus points for form, however.
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Wearable Motorcycle Design

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  • Why wearable? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday May 23, 2008 @01:51PM (#23520116) Homepage Journal
    What defines wearable? I would have thought wearable means - it goes where I go and can go anywhere I go. This vehicle appears to me not to do that. It looks like the rider goes where the trike goes - and the trike cannot go anywher the rider can go. But maybe I'm missing some key factor or my definition is insufficient.
    • I was wondering the same thing. It looks like the rider is just sitting on a really tall tricycle. I don't see anything about it that supports the concept of "wearable" by any definition I'm familiar with. I don't even see any reason to suspect it to be any lighter than a traditional motorcycle.

      Though it may deserve kudos for likely trumping the motorcycle in sheer danger factor.
    • Perhaps the middle wheel curls back into the backpack, and the outer wheel struts fold back like angel wings? It still looks terribly cumbersome that way, but you might be able to clear an obstacle in the road or climb some short stairs.
    • by Hojima ( 1228978 )
      I think you wear a part of the motorcycle in order to keep you inside. If you could detach what looks like the built-in jumpsuit, you could wear it anywhere. Still, I don't see how this is not a step back. Regular motorcycles seem much better in almost every aspect. FTA, it says that it's to be environmentally friendly, but if they really wanted it to do that, they would make a design based on The air car. [theaircar.com] And to make it safer, they could make the front of the motorcycle a dome-like structure that spreads t
    • by schlick ( 73861 )
      Yeah if they could power this I think it would actually be a wearable motorcycle.

  • Wheelbase issues (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Friday May 23, 2008 @01:54PM (#23520160) Homepage Journal
    As shown, there is no way that it is going to do 0-60 in three seconds. If power is on the front wheels, they can't get enough traction because the rider's weight is over the rear wheel. They will spin. If power is on the read wheel, it will do a wheelie and dump him on his ass.
    I therefore conclude that it has one of two undocumented features: either there is a ultra-high speed gyro concealed behind the wearer ( which I regard as very unlikely ), or the frame bends so as to lean the rider forward thus lengthening the wheelbase and moving the center of gravity forward.
    • by adonoman ( 624929 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:04PM (#23520308)
      I would expect that the acceleration could be linked to how much you lean forward (a la segway) - and with in-wheel electric motors, all three could be powered.
    • It's obviously intended to change shape when in motion, hence the pneumatic actuators, etc. While you're racing down the street, it's change into a more-streamlined shape.
    • More pictures. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pavon ( 30274 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:12PM (#23520434)
      Yeah, that was my first though. It does say "vertically parking", so maybe that is what the image is depicting. Ah here are some more pictures [hellforlea...gazine.com]. That said, it looks scary as hell to ride - when the two wheels move forward, you would also tilt forward, but there is nothing underneath you! You are being help up by the straps around your chest, while the road rushes beneath you. Plus having the helmet attached to the bike seems like a bad idea.
      • by Amouth ( 879122 )
        i agree the helmet attacked to the bike does sound like asking for trouble.. but that thing would be fun as hell to drive.. atleast in short sperts..

        trying to do a road trip with that would kill yourneck
    • Even assuming that the rider leans forward to lengthen the wheelbase and move the center of gravity, I have serious doubts that you could do 0-60 in 3 seconds. That's literbike territory, and those machines are putting out 160-180hp. Even if you consider that the weight of the rider with the wearable motorcycle could be as little as half of the weight of a rider on a traditional sportbike, that's still a lot of power that you would need to put out to reach those speeds.
      • by pavon ( 30274 )
        Considering that this was done by a student at an Art Design Center, I'm sure that the numbers given are just very rough optimistic guestimates.
        • Artists seem to have a reality-distortion field similar to Steve Jobs, only more introverted. "I'll use chromium-doped litho-phosphate batteries ..." and all the real-world issues become moot. Ugh. I don't mind folks pushing the envelope, but this is just mental masturbation. Don't print a pile of technical specifications in an attempt to rationalize the "art." If it's art, just say so. Don't pretend it's an engineered product that actually exists.
          • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday May 23, 2008 @03:53PM (#23521810) Homepage

            Artists seem to have a reality-distortion field similar to Steve Jobs, only more introverted. "I'll use chromium-doped litho-phosphate batteries ..." and all the real-world issues become moot. Ugh. I don't mind folks pushing the envelope, but this is just mental masturbation. Don't print a pile of technical specifications in an attempt to rationalize the "art." If it's art, just say so. Don't pretend it's an engineered product that actually exists.

            Just to clarify, Art Center is where many of the world's best professional transportation designers get their training. It's not unheard of for a car company to pay for a promising new designer to take off a couple years and study there. These aren't bunch of computer graphics nerds sitting around scribbling cool motorcycles in their notebooks, these are folks with money and advisers from every major auto company on Earth. They use the same engineering software and tools that GM or Ducati would use to develop a new product.

            Their designs are no different from any concept car you'd see at an auto show -- sure, it may cost $20 million to make, but they aren't inventing critical materials and demanding that the whole frame is made out of Unobtanium. It may well be made entirely out of stuff that is still impractical for mass production, and that seems to be the case with a lot of these designs, but it all exists. If they say it'll do 0-60 in however many seconds, you can bet that under ideal conditions and with a couple million dollars to actually build it, that the claim is only a bit less accurate (due to more exotic materials) than the specs for any new vehicle design that hasn't yet had the first production run.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by esampson ( 223745 )

        It's not all that unbelievable. I recall seeing something on TV recently where an electric motorcycle was raced against an internal combustion motorcycle and it turned out the electric one was quicker. Both bikes were drag race style bikes.

        The electric motorcycle was quicker (crossing the finish line first) but not faster (had a lower top speed). I believe it had something to do with the power range of the electric motor in relation to the power range of the IC engine. It also possibly had to do with the el

        • Electric motors provide constant torque. An internal combustion engine doesn't, not to mention not needing to shift (no "drop outs" of power for moments while gears change). And that's pretty much all there is to it.
      • While I'm not sure this thing can do 0-60 in 3s either, but the comparison you used in your reasoning is flawed. Electric motors can (and usually do) have much greater acceleration than internal-combustion engines.
    • by lazlo ( 15906 )
      From the article that the article links to [greencardesign.co.uk]:

      "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."

      So, I believe you are entirely correct. My guess is that the rear wheel is powered, and the two arms allow you to lean forward for acceleration, and that
      • Thanks for the link.

        I recall years ago ( 1981? 1982? ) reading an article in a motorcycle magazine in which the writer interviwed the lead engineers at the four major Japanese motorcycle companies. The interviews with the Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki people were predictable and boring.
        But the Suzuki engineer said that he wanted to design cycles that behaved like animals. The particular example he gave, IIRC, was a cheetah.
        He noted that when a cycle turns, it leans inward. That's good - just like an
        • by lazlo ( 15906 )

          ...He noted that when a cycle turns, it leans inward. That's good - just like an animal. But when braking, it tends to lean forward, and when accelerating it leans back. Both of those are the wrong way.

          This vehicle may finally be doing it right on the acceleration. To do it right when braking would require that the arms extend foraward and the rider lean back.

          From the image, it appears that the front wheels both have disc brakes, however, given the design inspiration, I wouldn't be too surprised if "slow" braking were done via regenerative braking on the rear wheel, which seems a bit more "cheetah-like", saving the front brakes for quick stops that wouldn't be accompanied by much of an angle change.

          To me, the concept of being more like an animal is great for acceleration and turning, but not so great for stopping. My gut feeling is that animals just don't sto

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      Yes, the faster you go, the more forward the front wheels extend.

      It's a shame there isn't an article about it~

      • does that mean when you hit 75mph your nearly lying horizontally being held in only be straps while the road rushes underneath you?

        while I wouldn't mind trying it out a couple of times, a segway with a beefier battery sounds far safer.
        • by Altus ( 1034 )

          not only that but the foremost portion of the bike in the middle would be your head. Sure, you have those big wheel arms out to the side but if you hit a tree head on it would literally be head on.

          Sounds like a bad plan.
          • by hurfy ( 735314 )
            Whereas hitting a tree head-on with a current motorcycle just throws you into the tree head-first.... Six of one vs half-dozen of the other?
    • brilliant (Score:4, Funny)

      by nguy ( 1207026 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @03:39PM (#23521644)
      the frame bends so as to lean the rider forward thus lengthening the wheelbase and moving the center of gravity forward.

      This means riders crash head-forward into things. That eliminates disability and pain. Great design!
  • Image of Cowboy Neal wearing this and driving to the work in the traffic will haunt me forever from now
  • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @01:54PM (#23520164) Journal
    when this thing hits a pothole.
  • Aerodynamics? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @01:55PM (#23520184) Homepage
    Given that this keeps the 'driver' standing upright, similar to the Segway, I dread to think what the aerodynamics of this thing are like at speed, it must be very inefficient.
  • Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Oxy the moron ( 770724 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @01:56PM (#23520186)

    Does this mean I can now be one of those robot overlords that everyone is so eager to welcome?

  • Dangerous, huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WK2 ( 1072560 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @01:56PM (#23520190) Homepage

    I would imagine the results of a crash would be much like being strapped to the hood of your car during a collision

    Welcome to the world of motorcycles, where safety is not our primary concern. Motorcycles don't offer any protection in a crash, and never have, with few exceptions. The best you can hope for in a crash is that you get thrown one way, and your bike another so that it doesn't crush you. And wear a helmet. If safety is your primary concern, cars and buses are much safer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pha7boy ( 1242512 )
      tanks are even better then that. Safety First [youtube.com]
    • Re:Dangerous, huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by phpmysqldev ( 1224624 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:15PM (#23520468)
      As a long time rider, and as most riders would tell you, you don't want to be thrown from the motorcycle. This can throw you into traffic or into a tree at high speeds, or a myriad of horrific deaths (i remember reading an article about a guy who was thrown from a bike while racing doing 100+ mph and hit one of those steel cables that hold power line poles up, as you can imagine the outcome was pretty gruesome).

      the ideal way to wreck a bike (oxymoron i know) is to lay it down. This way you have some control over which way the bike slides, you can keep most of your head of the ground, and it does less damage to the bike. That is one flaw I see with this bike's design, there is no effective way to lay it down in the event you need to.
      • Re:Dangerous, huh? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Yold ( 473518 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:27PM (#23520678)
        To clarify parent, the "safest" way to crash is a low-sider, which is sort-of falling behind the motorcycle when you lay it down. A "high-sider" is the opposite, laying it down and being in-front of the motorcycle can get you crushed pretty bad.
        • Yes, thank you, I didn't really think about non riders not knowing you'd want to be behind the bike

          Someone mod parent up, and my original post if you want =)
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by dedave ( 609713 )
          Actually, a high-side is a bit more dangerous (and violent) than just ending up in front of the bike. A high-side happens when the motorcycle suddenly regains traction after a loss of traction, and it can end up *flipping* you off the bike in the direction of travel. So, you get to bounce off the ground from about 6 feet up, and then, if you're "lucky", you slow down faster than the bike, and it comes along and adds insult to injury.

          See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iWWuW4U73s [youtube.com] @ 1min 40 secs in.

      • Re:Dangerous, huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by speleo ( 61031 ) * on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:53PM (#23521082) Homepage
        You never want a lay a bike down. All bikes stop better sticky side down.

        Once you lay a bike down you have no control and you're just sliding along dragging your axle nuts into the pavement (usually with your leg trapped under the bike, too).

        Ideally, you do everything possible to avoid a collision. But if you can't, the best thing you can do is lay on the brakes with proper (and practiced) technique and decrease your speed as much as possible before hitting the object.

        This is also the recommendation of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
    • The best you can hope for in a crash is that you get thrown one way, and your bike another so that it doesn't crush you. And wear a helmet.

      No. The best you can hope for is that when you low side, you slide along on your back armor, while your leathers are soaking up the damage. Afterward, you get up and brush yourself off. With only a helmet, you slide along on your ass until you have no ass left, then it starts in on the bones underneath.

      A helmet isn't enough. There are plenty of synthetic, breathable

    • by Altus ( 1034 )

      This would be worse.

      A while back there was some guy that wanted to mandate seat belts on motorcycles. This isn't a good idea since, in a crash bikes go every which way and you don't want to end up crushed under it. The belt that connects you to your safety gear is your helmet strap.

      If this thing went off its wheels I cant imagine it would provide all that much protection to the rider who is strapped into it. If nothing else your limbs are free to be torn off.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        If we're thinking of the same guy (some politician in the Pacific Northwest IIRC), he was being facetious about requiring seatbelts on motorcycles. His comment was something like, "I'll support ending helmet laws when motorcycles are equipped with seatbelts."
    • I always though an ejector seat and a small, rapidly deploying parachute might help. :-)

      Up and out of the impact zone, waft gently to the Earth and make your escape on foot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) *

        I always though an ejector seat and a small, rapidly deploying parachute might help. :-)

        Safety sticker for same:

        WARNING: Do Not Crash or Otherwise Eject in Tunnel or Underpass! WARNING!

    • What about road debris? (Rocks, Tires, Trash are dangerous at high speeds too).

      At least with a motorcycle, you have the windshield and the actual bike. I don't see much protection offered by this design...

  • reminds me of the races in Battle Angel Alita...
    • Not the actual picture of it, but the headline "wearable motorcycle" had me thinking of Robotech.
  • that we were meta-linked through the equally content-free endgadget blurb instead of right to the page?

    http://www.greencardesign.co.uk/site/item.php?id=1210936143&category=news&subcat= [greencardesign.co.uk]
  • It's like a Segway with training wheels!
  • by butterflysrage ( 1066514 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:05PM (#23520320)
    what will happen the first time a truck going the other way tosses a pebble up to about crotch height.
    • Redefines the phrase "crumple zone" now, doesn't it?

      The gravel-transport trucks will have to update their signs "Stay back 200 feet. Not responsible for windshields or your hoo-hoo."
  • Which one's Priss?
  • Three wheels = ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nixman99 ( 518480 )
    Isn't this a tricycle?
    • Isn't this a tricycle?
      It is. It's still a motorcycle though, since the word 'motorcycle' doesn't contain 'bi' as in 'two' like the word 'bicycle' does. A three-wheeled motorcycle is still a motorcycle. I could see there being a problem with the word 'motorbike' since 'bike' is a contraction of 'bicycle.'
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      A tricycle with a moter is a motorcycle...motorized cycling of the pedals.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      Three wheeled motorcycles are tricycles, but if a bike or trike has a motor, it's a motorcycle.
  • The problem with motorcycles is, of course, safety. The rider is on the *outside* of the vehicle, meaning in a collision, he gets hit/thrown/generally injured. The solution is to put the driver on the inside (hello car), but while also maintaining the small size of a motorcycle and not just building a full blown car.

    This design comes pretty close to fitting the bill. One thing I like is that the integral helmet and racing-style seatbelt pretty much eliminates the possibility of whiplash. In my humble op
    • This device is far more dangerous in a crash than a traditional motorcycle. If you are wearing proper gear, you can walk away from a long, smooth slide at almost speed. In a crash, the best you can hope for is to separate from your bike and slide without any interruptions. With this machine, you would have a much greater chance of it clipping something and sending you tumbling, and that's when the real pain is going to start.
    • the ability to withstand being run over by an SUV

      You do realise that in a 30mph shunt with *anything*, the occupants of an SUV are dead? Usually fairly slowly, from massive internal injuries?
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:14PM (#23520458)
    I would imagine the results of a crash would be much like being strapped to the hood of your car...

    In Soviet accident, Yamaha Deus Ex Machina wears you!

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:15PM (#23520466) Homepage

    Here's one that actually works. [youtube.com] It's an exoskeleton for street luge.

  • Anyone think of M.A.S.K. [wikipedia.org] when they saw this?
  • Wearable motorcycles are just the thing for killing Boomers!

    Wearable motorcycles were an element of the early 90s OVA series Bubblegum Crisis (and its bastard children Bubblegum Crash and BGC 2040). See http://www.daedalnexus.net/bubblegum/crisis/bgctech.html#ksveh [daedalnexus.net] for more information.
  • IMO, This invention offers a great chance to be wearing road rash, assuming you survive the crash. But, hey, on some people road rash might be an improvement. Go for the sympathy vote.
  • "I would imagine the results of a crash would be much like being strapped to the hood of your car during a collision,"

    "is unlikely to see public adoption."

    Why not? How is a crash on this type of vehicle any different from a crash with a regular motorcycle? Ok, so you have some impact absorption from the front fork, but you are still going to be catapulted off the bike and into either the ground or some other object (vehicle, light pole, llama, etc.). I guess the difference is then that you won't be catapu
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      Indeed. A friend of mine died instantly when someone ran a red light (and there were witnesses, unfortunately for the witnesses) and she went over the handlebars, breaking her neck and killing her instantly.
  • Movie concept (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:33PM (#23520778)
    I don't think the wearable motorcycle is realistic, but it could be great fun in an action movie. I'm picturing a guy who jumps off a bridge onto a sloped road below, hits a button in midair to transform his suit into motorcycle mode, and then zooms away. I could see this in the next Iron Man movie, as a product made by someone trying to compete with Iron Man on technology, or even as a suit built by Iron Man for an assistant/sidekick.

    Yeah, it's a cheesy idea, but it could be fun anyway.
  • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday May 23, 2008 @02:40PM (#23520888) Homepage
    I'm disappointed in the complete lack of Mospeada references posted so far.

    If it doesn't have wheels on my shoulders and a jet pack, I'm not interested.
  • I was all prepared to say "it wouldn't go the the general public because people generally don't want to look like tools."

    Then I looked at it and, DAMMIT, I WANT ONE!!!!!!

    Damn you, Slashdot, for making me retract a kneejerk reaction! It hurts!!

  • I'm deeply concerned about the unit's stability. Tri-wheeled ATCs have been banned in most jurisdiction due to their high center of gravity leading to tipping. This unit has an even higher center of gravity, and goes significantly faster than most ATCs would. ATCs mostly tip when braking while turning, due to the single wheel being forward. In this case the single wheel is rear and the driver is sitting almost on top of it. This would make the unit prone to tipping when turning while accelerating. Com
  • I'd recommend wearing at least an athletic cup. At any kind of speed loose gravel and pebbles will make it feel like you're being attacked by a swarm of stinging bees.
  • by michal ( 94596 )
    Here is better picture that show's how bike transforms during ride:
    http://gizmodo.com/photogallery/deusexmachina/1001615643 [gizmodo.com]
  • The inspiration is clearly from the PS2 game "Kinetica".
  • tagged... (Score:3, Informative)

    by spazdor ( 902907 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @03:31PM (#23521562)

"I'll rob that rich person and give it to some poor deserving slob. That will *prove* I'm Robin Hood." -- Daffy Duck, Looney Tunes, _Robin Hood Daffy_