A group of mechanical engineering students at Yale have come up with a bike that has a spokeless design, leaving a disturbing gap in the middle of the back wheel that looks suitably futuristic.
The students had to use existing technology and good old fashioned mechanical knowhow to create the bike and in its current state the design still relies on having a front wheel that is identical to the basic technology used on bikes around the world.
The back wheel is not driven by a central gear connected to a chain and then the pedals. Instead the pedals drive a second, smaller wheel which transfers its energy to the main wheel and causes forward motion.
According to the students, the only reason that they did not create a spokeless design on the front and back was the limitation of time. They had just a single term to work on the bike and this restricted them to creating just one spokeless wheel rather than two.
The students said that although the prototype requires the user to pedal in order to move forward, there is enough flexibility in the design to allow for the integration of an electric motor in future versions.
As with all good inventions, the design of the spokeless bike is relatively simple and does not require the basic shape and size of a bicycle to change in any way, so we could well see some commercial versions of this invention coming to the market in the future.