A new bicycle wheel prototype is connecting the non-technical, everyday world to the Web. The Copenhagen Wheel attaches to an ordinary bike and helps its owner collect fitness and location data. From an iPhone, the rider can also see traffic and polution information and share their own data with friends. This real world mashup is one of many we're bound to start seeing released as we make our move toward living in the future.
Future Lab points out that The Copenhagen Wheel has already won a prestigious Dyson design award, but worries it may get trapped as other forward-thinking inventions have:
I hope that this current version is something that the inventors will actually try to commercialize, and it does not become a permanent prototype with a nice idea and no adoption, like the Aerocar.
Hopefully, the connection with real world activities and the rider's social life will make The Copenhagen Wheel commercially viable. Maybe it will help that the wheel also stores electricity during breaking to provide riders an extra boost on hills. On the other hand, do the sort of avid bicyclists who might buy this wheel really want that extra boost?
In addition to being a mashup, The Copenhagen Wheel intends to be a platform, so developers can add their own apps. For the more traditional commuter, Ford announced its cars as a platform in December.