Can This Super High-Tech Bike Get Kids Interested in Engineering? Can This Super High-Tech Bike Get Kids Interested in Engineering?
Education

Can This Super High-Tech Bike Get Kids Interested in Engineering?

by Liz Dwyer

May 7, 2011

These days there's a lot of energy going into how to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math—the so-called STEM subjects. Part of the challenge is image. The stereotype of the unattractive, withdrawn nerd proving geometric theories in her head isn't the most attractive role model. That's where examples like the above tricked-out bike constructed by UPENN engineering students could help out.

Eavesdrop on any group of kids, and you'll hear them talking about skateboarding, the X-Games, and BMX biking. They're into this stuff. When they see the pictures of this bike—or watch the video below—find out what it can do, and then hear that some college students built it, they're going to want to know more.

The bike itself is actually pretty sweet. The prototype is called the Alpha, and on the site for it, the UPENN engineering students say they set out to create a boundary pushing bicycle with integrated systems.

The result is Alpha, the first bicycle with a fully internal drivetrain including an electronically-controlled clutch allowing the rider to switch between fixed-gear and freewheeling configurations. All of the bike’s components, including a belt drive, brakes, and an onboard electronics suite, are housed inside the custom-machined frame. Besides protecting these fragile components from degrading environmental exposure, this integration also gives the bike a streamlined, striking appearance.

photos via Alpha

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Can This Super High-Tech Bike Get Kids Interested in Engineering?