MIT researchers unveiled a major new project aimed at transforming
bicycle use in Denmark's largest city, Copenhagen. The project, called
Smart Biking, will use a self-organizing smart-tag system that will
allow the city's residents to exchange basic information and share
their relative positioning with each other.
Map of Denmark's Bike Routes
The project will be implemented in time November 2009 just in time
for the U.N. Climate Change Conference, which Copenhagen will be the
host city for.
"One of the most striking aspects of Copenhagen is that it is
already a very sustainable city," said Carlo Ratti, Director of MIT's
SENSEable City Lab, which is overseeing the Smart Biking project. "A
considerable fraction of its energy comes from renewable sources and...
30 to 40 percent of its citizens use bicycles as their primary method
How will the users track each other, with Facebook, of course. "We
have developed a Facebook application called 'I crossed your path,'
which creates a social network for cyclists, allowing them to link up
with people they may have ridden past during the day and potentially
establish new connections," explained Christine Outram, the principal
research assistant on the project.
The smart tags will also allow individuals to monitor the distance
they travel while cycling as part of a citywide "green mileage"
initiative, which is similar to a frequent-flyer program.
a prototype of a smart bicycle is being developed in collaboration
with the MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities Group at the MIT Media Lab. This
hybrid bicycle uses a regenerative motor to harvest the energy created
when braking and release it while cycling, in a manner similar to
hybrid cars. Everything, including the battery, is packed in the rear
wheel, which becomes a self-contained element that could be retrofitted
on most existing bicycles.