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Smart Bikes From Osaka

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OSAKA, Japan (Jan 9) – Members of an industrial network in Sakai, a city that ships 40 % of Japan’s bicycle-related goods, have joined hands with researchers at Osaka University to create bicycles equipped with a stabilization system that can automatically adjust steering. Officials at the university and the Sakai Industry Club network, are hoping […]

OSAKA, Japan (Jan 9) – Members of an industrial network in Sakai, a city that ships 40 % of Japan’s bicycle-related goods, have joined hands with researchers at Osaka University to create bicycles equipped with a stabilization system that can automatically adjust steering.
Officials at the university and the Sakai Industry Club network, are hoping to market the bicycles to elderly people and aim to start manufacturing them by spring.

Sakai Industry Club officials and other researchers said there was a degree of regularity to the lean of moving bicycles. However, that regularity disappears when the bicycle travels abnormally in such a way that would lead to it falling over. The system that researchers developed is able to detect such an abnormality at an early stage and adjust the lean of the bicycle by automatically steering the handlebars in the right direction.

A sensor to detect the lean of the bicycle is placed under the seat. A device attached to the frame picks up signals from this sensor and automatically turns the handlebars left or right accordingly.
For example, if the bicycle is about to fall over to the right, the handlebars are adjusted to the left. The sensor enables slight adjustments to be made at an early stage to maintain balance.
For safety reasons, the automatic correction function is designed to turn off when a certain amount of resisting force is applied to the handlebars, officials said.

Hiroshi Tokutake and others from Osaka University have dubbed the bicycle the “smart cycle,” and have been testing it with a prototype.

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