We cover three interesting patents for bicycle-related technology that could have major implications for the future of cycling. First, we look at a wild transforming bike that can shift from a recumbent to a more standard upright design. Second, Shimano filed a patent for a bicycle anti-lock braking system (ABS). Finally, we found some futuristic clothing, which incorporates a huge potential for various electronics, from solar panels to audio equipment and more.
Transforming Recumbent Bike
First up for Patent Patrol, we’ll look at the “Two-wheeled bicycle with variable configuration“. While other transforming or convertible-style bikes exist, this patent calls out its unique ability to change configurations in a very short time, without any complicated procedures. The result is a change from the style shown in the above, to this:
Could this be the ideal setup for ultra-distance cycling, allowing for comfort and improved aerodynamics for flat sections (in recumbent mode) – and then a switch to upright mode for climbing?
Shimano ABS Patent
Shimano is known for being on top of the patent game, and just filed for a bicycle anti-lock braking system (ABS).
The system would monitor wheel speeds continuously, modulating the braking power automatically to eliminate complete wheel lock-up. This isn’t the first we’ve seen of ABS for bikes, but it’s always good to see new players offering competition.
There’s no word in these early stages whether Shimano will actually bring it to market – nor the weight penalty – but we’ll stay tuned for further developments.
Cyborg-like Clothing with Conductive Ink?
This patent isn’t bicycle-specific, but could apply to any outdoor sport or activity that needs to accommodate electronic equipment. Rather than trying to hide wires in the fabric, it relies on a stretchable conductive ink pattern.
The conductive ink would be surrounded by insulating layers, including 40-60% conductive particles, 30-50% binder, 3-7% solvent, and 3-7% thickener.
Just what could you do with such technology? If the images above are any indication, the possibilities seem to be endless. There are already some garments with electronics (such as integrated heating elements), but perhaps we’ll be adding solar panels and defibrillators soon…