For more than 150 years New York City’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (more commonly called The Cooper Union) has finished its school years with an annual event showcasing student projects in the areas of art, architecture and engineering.
Of the more than 300 projects on display this year were several inventions designed and built by students demonstrating a firm grasp of what society will want and need from technology moving forward.
Such inventions included a bicycle that features a flywheel, a wave energy converter and a mobile mini-robot.
The school awarded its Nicholas Stefano Prize for an outstanding mechanical engineering senior project to Maxwell von Stein for his flywheel bicycle. The bike (see the video below) uses a spinning flywheel to recover energy lost during braking so it can be later reclaimed to boost speed. A flywheel can temporarily store the kinetic energy from the bicycle when the rider needs to slow down, according to von Stein. The energy stored in the flywheel can be used to bring the cyclist back up to cruising speed. In this way the cyclist recovers the energy normally lost during braking. In addition to increased energy efficiency, the flywheel-equipped bicycle is more fun to ride since the rider has the ability to boost speed, he adds.