03 July 2011
Mad new machine for not getting around devised by some students from Adelaide University
Brian Micklethwait

When someone invents a totally new kind of transport, usually with not enough wheels, they tend to release a video which at least tries to suggest that, although actually mad, the new means of transport has glimmerings of sanity, and might have its uses for something other than sport, where the new mad machine merely competes against itself.

But this video, of EDWARD the Electric Dicycle, seems to be going out of its way to prove that EDWARD the Electric Dicycle is completely insane, and has no uses whatever apart from turning its insane occupant upside down for no reason.


  1. Actually, diwheels have a lot of uses, and a good control system for one, as demonstrated, is a very good idea.

    The huge wheel diameter makes them very good on rough terrain (you can even make them into a cylinder if you have enough counterweight, which also protects the innards). It is very hard to topple them over as the wheelbase is so wide and the centre of gravity is so low. The technologies involved are directly relevant to a lot of applications such as rail and aerospace. And look at Segways, that’s a biwheel of sorts.

    Don’t discard something just because you don’t understand it! I’m sure the Adelaide university people would be happy to explain more about the thought process behind it if you asked them.

    Posted by Ed on  03 July 2011 at 05:48 pm

  2. Ed

    If so, then the video is all the worse.  My complaint was really about the video, rather than about the thing itself.

    If EDWARD is very good at rough terrain, then why not show EDWARD doing that?

    I am perfectly willing to believe that “the technologies involved” are tremendous.  Far be it from me to dis the wheel.  But are those “technologies involved” being applied to a specific device that is useful?  Or are they just playing a game, in order to sharpen their skills in these technologies?  Which is fine, but they suggest that more than that has been accomplished.

    Plus, are Segways any use?  I hadn’t realised.

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on  03 July 2011 at 06:18 pm

  3. Physics can be a real pain, sometimes. The feeling I get from this is that these guys knew that physics wouldn’t allow it to work, but built it anyway to see what they could do with it. They are playing around, which is great for learning and innovating.

    It’s a good demonstration of how a computer control system can make something like this stable. I have a hard time believing it could really be useful in rough terrain, though. You have no way of stopping it from rolling down a hill.

    Something similar is the mono-wheel. This guy is also insane: http://www.kerrymclean.com/

    Posted by Rob Fisher on  04 July 2011 at 05:11 pm

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