Thursday, March 2, 2017

Engineering A New Bike: Everything is Awesome!

Essential Question: How can we redesign the bicycle to be an efficient and sustainable utility vehicle? The group must create a prototype to replace a specific utility vehicle, such as a truck, a school bus, or a moving van. 

The group gathers on Thursday for an information dump - lots of logistics before we leave!
Everyone is ready to be on the ground in Scandinavia.

Project Leaders Justin Joslin and Craig Churchill will lead a group of dedicated students to Scandinavia to play with LEGO bricks (er, study design and engineering). While the goal of the project is to reinvent the bike as a utility vehicle, we will also consider the growth and challenge of cycling in US cities compared to our European counterparts (as well as gaining a deeper appreciation for the music of ABBA). We will develop this project through hands on research in the world’s top bicycle city: Copenhagen. We will also spend time in Malmo, Sweden working with local government to understand the policy and technical side of making cycling popular and meeting with innovative bicycle designers. We will meet with local engineers and businesses to understand how bicycles can be used as a sustainable and efficient alternative to utility vehicles.

As this is an experiential learning trip, we will take what we learn and incorporate it into our own hands-on design project. We will also spend time in makerspaces in Malmo tinkering on our plans and designs. We will divide into teams to produce our final deliverable and hopefully some prototypes too. We don’t know what we will create yet (that's entirely up to the students on this student created project!) as we will develop our plans on-site. Here are some of the possible ideas that our future designers have already discussed:

  • a new bicycle design
  • an electric bike
  • a bicylce-powered phone charging device
  • a more comfortable bike seat
  • internet marketing campaign for our new bike product
  • a bicycle friendly urban development plan for US cities
  • new policy briefings or articles to share back home

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