Feb 102011
 

Dr Carsten Mehring has designed a human-powered three-wheeler which suspends its user from a curved frame and is said to offer a sensation of flying along without worrying about getting air sick

If the notion of flying through the air appeals then hang-gliding might be your first thought.

But if your fear of heights keeps you closer to the ground then perhaps Dr Carsten Mehring’s StreetFlyer may be of interest. The human-powered three-wheeler suspends its user from an arched frame so that when enough momentum is generated, the legs can be lifted off the ground and you’re away – at a cruising altitude of just a few feet.

Dr Mehring, inventor of the Exoride foldable urban one-man transporter, says that he had the basic idea for a vehicle with a light-weight body providing lift a couple of years ago. About a year later, the concept was refined into the StreetFlyer design where a lightweight, collapsible and retractable frame supports a user suspended from a harness.

Unlike the two-wheeled GlideCycle, when enough momentum is achieved by the user running along, the legs are lifted and positioned on the footrests near the rear wheel and the user gets “the sensation of flying without actually taking off the ground.”

He got in touch with the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado where he used to teach with a view to turning the concept into reality and the idea was picked up as a senior design project by the Mechanical Engineering Department. A team of students rose to the task and, after making a PVC-pipe mock-up, created the StreetFlyer prototype you see here. This version, where the user is suspended some three feet from the ground, is meant to be used for flat or downhill travel only.

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