July 4, 2012

"We’re making a safe motorcycle."

Is that a motorcycle? 
The C1 is gyroscopically stabilized – sort of along the lines of a Segway – so it can’t tip over.
Do 2 wheels, motorized, make a motorcycle? Isn't there a soul to the thing? A soul that has something to do with exposure — danger... freedom.... Ah! Here's the picture I'm looking for:

DSC00505

I took that picture in Augusta, Kentucky back in 2009.

81 comments:

edutcher said...

I've seen a few Segways pitch forward, so put me down as skeptical.

Mary Beth said...

That thing in the article is not a motorcycle. It's just two wheels and closed in dullness.

Pastafarian said...

Of course, thanks to conservation of angular momentum, all motorcycles (and bikes) are "gyroscopically stabilized".

I assume that the absurd little turd-on-two-wheels pictured in the linked article has a flywheel. I'm not sure how it would be stabilized like the Segway is, because the wheels on this turd are in line with one another -- a Segway uses a microprocessor to supply just the right amount of torque to two wheels whose axis is perpendicular to the direction of motion.

What they have here is a shitty little car on two wheels, so that they don't have to jump the usual regulatory hurdles that cars have to -- 5mph bumpers, 50mph crash tests into walls.

By the way, can someone explain to me why I have to wear a seat belt when I drive my 1.5 ton car, but someone can sit atop a chain saw on two wheels and fly past me with only a crash helmet?

Ken said...

"Is that a motorcycle?"

No.

Ann Althouse said...

When I first read "gyroscopically stabilized," I saw it as "gynoscopically stabilized."

grackle said...

I don't believe futuristic-looking, "safe" motorcycles will sell. Maybe years from now. Likewise a quiet bike. The noise is part of the attraction.

Capt. Schmoe said...

It's not a motorcycle, It's an abomination. Not a practical one either.

In my experience, most serious motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle or an immovable object. Unless, of course, forgetting to put your feet down at a stop sign after too many beers counts.

Somebody somewhere will see this engineering test bed and will attempt to enact legislation mandating some of it's features on all new motorcycles.

From "Live free and ride" to "Ride safe and doze". You know it's coming.

Pastafarian said...

Gynoscopically stabilized -- that conjures disturbing images of a bike with the saddle removed, leaving the seat post.

vet66 said...

Gynocscopically Neutered is a better description. Reminds me of the floaties, life jackets, goggles, snorkels placed on my niece by her socialist mother in full compliance with current laws that dictate safety all cost, even if it means the child can play in the pool and not get wet. Capt. Schmoe from Corporal Schmucketelli, well said.

rhhardin said...

It's bullshit.

A gyroscope can't revent tipping over.

Gyroscopes turn the tip-over tendency into precession, but with two wheels this thing can't precess.

Resistance to precession turns the precession tendency into tipping over.

It's a two right angles thing.

It goes plop just as if there were no gyroscope.

Which is why the concept model is supported by sticks.

ndspinelli said...

I thought stirrups could only create a gynoscopically stabilized enviroment.

Michael Haz said...

I am celebrating my 47th year of motorcycling this month. I bought my first motorcycle (an 80cc Yamaha) at age 16, and have had at least one motorcycle in my possession continuously since then.

Take my word for it - the doohickey in the photo is not a motorcycle. What ever it it, it's stupid.

deborah said...

I'll bet Pogo calls motorcycles donorcycles.

cubanbob said...

Its either a motorcycle or it is safe. But it can't be both.
Soon enough the ACA rules will ban motorcycles as we can't allow for the potential free-rider occurrence to take place.

Pastafarian said...

The article is hilarious in its incompetence:

"It delivers 1,300-foot-pounds of torque..."

"It" referring to the vehicle itself, leaving the reader to assume that the vehicle's primary drivetrain produces 1300 foot-pounds of torque. I guess they stuffed a Cummins turbo-diesel into it. Either that, or the author is misquoting the manufacturer's promotional literature, where the manufacturer was referring to the torque produced by their flywheel stabilization system.

rhhardin, I assume that they have a flywheel spinning continuously, even when the vehicle is at rest, and a microprocessor-controlled system applies torque to the flywheel's axis, which is nominally parallel to the axes of the bike's wheels, and controls the flywheel's speed, and this keeps the thing upright.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Judging by the promotional video on the company's website, there are two flywheels in the chassis that pivot complementarily if the vehicle starts to tilt. So, yes, it's stable even at rest, so long as the engine's running.

I think its kind of cute, actually. Better than the late Corbin Sparrow. (That was a truly goofy-looking electric tricycle, with two wheels in front and one in back. The company died somewhere in the mid-2000s.)

wv: 28 inntact. Not if it's hit by an SUV it won't be.

rhhardin said...

rhhardin, I assume that they have a flywheel spinning continuously, even when the vehicle is at rest, and a microprocessor-controlled system applies torque to the flywheel's axis, which is nominally parallel to the axes of the bike's wheels, and controls the flywheel's speed, and this keeps the thing upright.

It won't work. The flywheel responds to torque by precessing, and it's not allowed to precess, which means it just moves in the direction of the torque, as if it weren't spinning.

Conservation of angular momentum won't be denied.

Old Dad said...

That's no motorcycle. That's what you ride to a biker bar when you want to get your ass beat.

Andy Neidlinger said...

"Do 2 wheels, motorized, make a motorcycle?"
Mostly, yes.

"Isn't there a soul to the thing?"
As exemplified by the scooter in the image you posted - a mass-produced, technological wonder that some rich guy paid an artist to airbrush? I'd say if some teenager pulled a Vespa step-through with a seized engine out of a dumpster, replaced the drive train with a big battery and a golf cart motor, and customized the whole thing with stencils and a couple cans of Rustoleum, it would have more soul than either of the motorcycles mentioned in your post.

Of more practical importance though, is the issue of whether this is a SAFE vehicle - whether or not you want to call it a motorcycle. I didn't want to spend a lot of time on research, but a quick search found this...
http://www.motorcycleaccident.org/motorcycle-accidents-statistics-and-possible-causes/
"A 2009 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute report found that:

-More than half of motorcyclist deaths involved at least one other vehicle.
-42 percent of two-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle.
-A little less than half of all motorcycle driver deaths involved no other vehicle.
-Of the 1,791 motorcycle deaths that involved only the motorcyclist
--48 percent were speeding.
--42 percent had blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 percent or higher.
--655,000 motorcycles were purchased, a decrease from 1.1 million in 2008."
Even assuming that the "more than half" involving a second vehicle is only 51%, over 70% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2009 were the result of either a drunk motorcyclist or collision with another vehicle. Is there any reason to believe that putting gyroscopes on the motorcycle will alleviate either of these situations? If you want safe, build a motorcycle with breathalyzer enabled ignition and active armor. Or just drive a Volvo station wagon.

rhhardin said...

Gyroscopes make apparent a mistake that people pick up from experience.

The mistake is that if you push something, it's displaced.

The truth is that if you push something, you change its velocity in the direction that you push it.

This immediately turns up as a displacement, so that's what everybody's intuition is.

The intuition doesn't work for gyroscopes, which is why they're unintuitive.

Imagine a ball on a string, and swing it in a vertical circle as kids might do.

Say the ball goes forward at the bottom, up in front, backwards over the top, and down in back, as most people would swing it right-handed.

The plane of rotation points straight forward, up, down, and back.

As it goes over the top, bap it out of plane rightwards with your left hand.

What happens to the plane of rotation?

The ball's plane of motion heads back and right, downwards, forward and left, and upwards.

The ball comes back through the same place it was when you bapped it, but is displaced in the back and in the front where you did not bap it.

The ball's plane of rotation has changed perpendicular to the direction you pushed it. This is what precession is.

The ball's displacement shows up only after its change of velocity has had time to matter, and that's ninety degrees later than when you pushed on it. Hence the illusion.

It's true of all objects, but only turns up as mattering with gyroscopes.

If you constrain the ball from precessing, it amounts to a subsequent leftward bap in back, which displaces the bottom to the left, and displaces the top to the right, which is just the direction of the original rightward bap. Ie no gyroscopic effect.

Mel said...

No, the photo in the link is NOT a motorcycle.

Sklar Hast said...

I've ridden recumbent bikes with a cowling like that electric motorcycle. And yes, it's a motorcycle. Doubts about whether it is seem to rest on a more elaborate definition of the word than just a two wheeled motor vehicle. You're just dissing it because it's not cool.

My experience on recumbent bikes is that the design is aerodynamic and you can comfortably ride in all weather but ice and snow. I rode one all winter and including sub-zero temperatures wearing only a light jacket. There are obvious advantages in the design if you're only interested in hauling your ass from place to place and not in getting laid.

Jim Howard said...

My first thought is that the rider will fry in that thing if he takes it on the road in Austin right now. Talk about your greenhouse effect!

ALL motorcycles are gyroscopically stabilized!

Motorcycles do not crash because the rider is just going down the road and suddenly they just fall over!

There have been many attempts at enclosed two wheel vehicles. None have really caught on.

There are a number of attempts to make flying motorcycles going right now. One has actually flown.

All enclosed two wheel vehicles need an expensive system of some sort to allow them to remain upright when stopped. Most are very expensive, in the $40K and up range. Why not just buy Nissan Leaf?

I wear a kevlar enclosure (google: Motoport kevlar).

I don't see the sense in riding inside an enclosure, that's what cars are for.

Quaestor said...

rhhardin wrote:
It won't work.

Watch the video and explain it to us again.

David said...

It is not a motorcycle, at least in Massachusetts.

90 Mass. Gen. Laws Section 1:

“Motorcycle”, any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground ... except... a motor vehicle on which the operator and passenger ride within an enclosed cab.

Sometimes, there are simple answers.

Ann Althouse said...

@rh I just said to Meade: "You're turning into rhhardin." But that was before I read your comments here.

That was when Meade was talking about gathering rainwater from the roof to fill up a horse trough in the deck for a plunge pool in hot weather, and having some drainage system coming out of it for, I think, some kind of garden function.

Ann Althouse said...

"Watch the video and explain it to us again."

The video does make it seem very cool... but not much like a motorcycle.

I think they should avoid asserting that it's a motorcycle.

Hunter said...

Peraves AG of Switzerland has been making cabin motorcycles much cooler than this one since at least the 90s.

Apparently they are quite fun to drive as well.

Gabriel Hanna said...

rhhardin is wrong, as a toy gyroscope easily demonstrates. He leaves out of his reasoning the forces on the motorcycle from the ground.

Take a toy gyroscope and tip it 90 degrees so that the rotor is perpendicular to the ground. It's won't tip side to side if you try to make it, though it will try to precess. If prevented from precessing it just sits there until the rotor runs down and then it tips over. I am looking at one right now that is doing this very thing.

The motorcycle has a kickstand because you don't want to have to leave the flywheel running while it is parked, that just wastes energy.

DADvocate said...

Since you took that picture in Augusta, KY, I won't criticize it although it's too fancified for my taste. I've had 3 and road from Knoxville to San Francisco and back in 1978 on a Yamaha 650 Special.

Looking at the Lit bike, I wonder how it'll handle cross winds with those big flat sides. A sudden gust can send you into the next lane if you're not ready. Going across the Mojave Desert, I was leaning into a cross wind for 100 miles, made my butt hurt on one side. I like the idea of an enclosed motorcycle for more civilized riding though.

bagoh20 said...

Two photos of bikes: One is a top and one is a bottom, but they are both gay.

bagoh20 said...

Actually, I like it. For just getting around town, parking, commuting, it would be perfect. I have a great motorcycle, but I never use it to just get around. Too much hassle with helmets and clothing, and the wind and dirt. This I would use. It's a much better idea than light or high speed rail, or buses, which are all for losers with a lot of time to waste, or union masters.

Sklar Hast said...

Ditto what Bag said.

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna

It's difficult to control the forces to tell what's being done.

Try putting the gyroscope across the inside of a box edge, and then lay the box on edge on the floor so that the gyroscope is horizontal.

The box will keep the gyroscope from precessing without accidentally also holding it up.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin:Try putting the gyroscope across the inside of a box edge, and then lay the box on edge on the floor so that the gyroscope is horizontal.

The box will keep the gyroscope from precessing without accidentally also holding it up.


I folded a piece of cardboard into a V and put the gyroscope on top of the V while putting the sharp edge on the carpet. The gyroscope held it up without precessing until it ran down.

I can't draw a free-body diagram for you here, but it's Newton's 3rd law basically, combined with the condition that the total angular momentum of the gyroscope-cardboard-Earth system is conserved.

Holmes said...

If I had three wheels, I'd be a tricycle.

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna

The trouble with a cardboard V is that it doesn't supply tip-over torque

A box hovering above it does.

What you're seeing is the tendency of the gyroscope to remain fixed in orientation in the absence of torque (unlike regular objects, which remain fixed in velocity in the absense of forces, which actually is the same thing).

The problem is when there's a torque, as when it's keeping a motorcycle upright. If it can't react by precessing (which is what the box prevents), it will react by falling. The box supplies a fall torque in response to the tip-over torque from gravity.

If you like conservation of angular momentum in the earth system, consider my impossible energy source, a large gyroscope laid horizontal across a circular track around the North Pole. The gyroscope remains fixed in space, the earth rotates under it, and you pull power off differential rotation.

If that worked, it would slow the earth. So it can't work. How does it fail?

That's the same precession prevented problem.

Rusty said...

By the way, can someone explain to me why I have to wear a seat belt when I drive my 1.5 ton car, but someone can sit atop a chain saw on two wheels and fly past me with only a crash helmet?


Ticket revenue.



"There are two two kinds of motorcycle riders. Those that have fallen off and those that are going to.

Kenan Wynn said that. He was a motorcycle stunt man before he was an actor.

Rusty said...

Oh,look! A coffin with wheels!

Quaestor said...

Gabriel Hanna wrote:
rhhardin is wrong, as a toy gyroscope easily demonstrates.

And as an inertial navigation system also demonstrates. That the gyros in an inertial guidance system are NOT free to precess is why it works.

Pastafarian wrote:
[The] author is misquoting the manufacturer's promotional literature, where the manufacturer was referring to the torque produced by their flywheel stabilization system.

Pastafarina nails it. That is exactly the error in the linked-to article. That is also why rhhardin's cry of "bullshit!" smells rather bovine itself.

Hunter wrote:
Peraves AG of Switzerland has been making cabin motorcycles much cooler than this one since at least the 90s.

These things go back way further than that, more than a century in fact. Most of the Peraves vehicles are have conventional gasoline engines, whereas the Lit will be an all-electric. Another difference is the low-speed stabilization system. Peraves designs rely on outrigger wheels which deploy automatically when the vehicle leans over. I followed one of these for a few miles on the M4 between Bistol and Swindon. It impressed me a being much more like a motorcycle than the Lit. Another difference is getting in and out. The Peraves vehicles have a canopy like a fighter plane. The Lit C-1 has a door.

BTW, Peraves says they're developing a spherical rotatory engines. If this pans out it will be quite a radical improvement. Besides being significantly more efficient than a piston engine (three of the four strokes of a conventional motor rob energy from the system) a kugelmotor will provide a considerable degree of gryo-stabilization to a two-wheeler, even while the vehicle is stationary, because the sphere continues to rotate while the engines idles.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin:If that worked, it would slow the earth. So it can't work. How does it fail?

It's not impossible and it WOULD slow the Earth, just like a tidal station does. Whatever you use to "pull off power" is somehow attached to the Earth, and by Newton's 3rd law slows the Earth's rotation. Just like the toy gyroscope does. The moment of inertia of the Earth so huge that the effect is unmeasurable.

rhhardin said...

It's not impossible and it WOULD slow the Earth, just like a tidal station does. Whatever you use to "pull off power" is somehow attached to the Earth, and by Newton's 3rd law slows the Earth's rotation. Just like the toy gyroscope does. The moment of inertia of the Earth so huge that the effect is unmeasurable.

@Gabriel Hanna
The tidal system uses the moon and the sun, and changes the angular momentum of orbits in compensation for the loss of earth's angular momentum.

My little power gyroscope doesn't have that out. It slows the earth without any compensating gain.

Being small doesn't matter to thought! Or make it really big.

jeff said...

I just spent the last week riding mine all over Wisconsin. That thing fits the dictionary definition of a motorcycle, but that's about it. Contrary to Andy's babbling, you don't have to be a rich guy to have a motorcycle, unless you get a non massed produced bike as he seemingly suggests. I'm assuming the person who gets one of those will still have to hear about someone who was killed on a bike,and how Drs call riders organ doners and veiled referenced to mid life crisis and over compensation. So there's that. Actually, probably not the last two.

Gabriel Hanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

@rhhardin

Gabriel Hanna wrote: It's not impossible and it WOULD slow the Earth, just like a tidal station does. He did not write "tidal system". Hanna is referring to a so-called green energy scheme that uses the rise and fall of the tides to generate electricity. There are many such stations operating experimentally, and they do SLOW the rotation of the Earth, and will eventually contribute to Earth becoming tidally locked to the Sun.

Gabriel Hanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

@Quaestor
The slowing of the earth is from the tides themselves, not from using them to generate useful energy. If anything, using them to make energy reduces the tides and thus reduces the loss of earth rotation. Tidal energy otherwise goes into heating, which it does anyway eventually if you generate electricity from them.

It's a little complicated because the tides are actually very long wavelength ocean waves, with phase velocity locked to earth rotation, more or less.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin: Here's a video showing the principle. Watch when he pushes it sideways (0:25), it stays vertical, when it tries to roll it goes back upright, it is stable against rolling.

For the motorcycle: Gravity points in the z direction. The motorcycle's length is in the x direction. The gyroscope's axis is in y. When you roll the motorcycle, that's a torque about x. The gyroscope tries to precess about the z axis, so the motorcycle tries to turn left or right. Friction from the ground opposes this, so that is a countertorque on the gyroscope about the z axis. The gyroscope tries to precess about the x axis, which is a countertorque that opposes the original roll.

Andy Neidlinger said...

God I love the internet...

"Contrary to Andy's babbling, you don't have to be a rich guy to have a motorcycle, unless you get a non massed produced bike as he seemingly suggests."

Really, Jeff? By saying that something you put your own sweat and ingenuity into has more soul than something mass produced, I'm suggesting that you have to rich to own a motorcycle? Reading comprehension isn't your greatest strength, is it?

"I'm assuming the person who gets one of those will still have to hear about someone who was killed on a bike,and how Drs call riders organ doners and veiled referenced to mid life crisis and over compensation."

The fact that the person who wrote that had just one sentence earlier accused someone else of babbling is simply precious.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin:The slowing of the earth is from the tides themselves, not from using them to generate useful energy. If anything, using them to make energy reduces the tides and thus reduces the loss of earth rotation. Tidal energy otherwise goes into heating, which it does anyway eventually if you generate electricity from them.

I'm sorry, this is wrong. I hate to pull the physics Ph. D. card, but I have one.

When you use the tides to generate energy, you increase the drag on the Earth, because the ocean is putting a force on the Earth through the station. That's because your power station is attached to the Earth.

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna

Nice video, except I think the idea is wrong that adding gyros changes anything except total angular momentum. The CDs just add to result in one larger CD. It ought to spin freely about some gyro-box-diagonal axis, which one depending on signs.

Friction from the ground opposes this, so that is a countertorque on the gyroscope about the x axis.

The friction torque would be about the z axis, from a couple applied at the wheels at two places on the x axis.

Radio silence for 2 hours now, whilst I pedal in the hundred degree day to the store and back.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin:The friction torque would be about the z axis, from a couple applied at the wheels at two places on the x axis.

Notice I corrected my typo before your post. Since the friction puts a torque about z, the gryoscope tries to precess about x, which cancels the original roll.

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna
When you use the tides to generate energy, you increase the drag on the Earth, because the ocean is putting a force on the Earth through the station. That's because your power station is attached to the Earth.

But friction against the earth is what limits tide height in the first place. Otherwise it would grow without bound. It grows until the heating loss equals the energy input. If you generate power, it grows less because you're in effect supplying heating loss at a lower amplitude.

Lower tides in turn reduce the tidal energy input to the earth, by making it rounder and less susceptible to gravitational asymmetries.

rhhardin said...

Notice I corrected my typo before your post. Since the friction puts a torque about z, the gryoscope tries to precess about x, which cancels the original roll.

I get that it rolls in direction of the original torque. A sign discrepency.

We need more right hands.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin: . If you generate power, it grows less because you're in effect supplying heating loss at a lower amplitude.

Newton's 3rd law. The ocean pushes on the generator. The generator pushes back on the ocean. The Moon pulls the ocean, but the ocean also pulls the Moon. They are not isolated from each other. When you increase the force on the ocean from the Earth by making the ocean turn a wheel, you slow down the Moon. This is all due to force.

FedkaTheConvict said...

Expect to see even more of these abominations as Boomers age and health care laws demand risk mitigation or even elimination. Last year the Racine Fourth Fest allowed three-wheeled motorcycles in the parade for the first time and there were quite of few people riding them.

Harley Davidson is pushing the three-wheeled bikes. One of my neighbors, a burly lesbian prison guard, just got one a few weeks ago.

Beth said...

Putting aside whether it's a motorcycle or not. Imagine these as one of the google self-driving vehicles. Then imagine places like LA, NY and DC full of them for commuters and the time, gas, and traffic they could save. Equip them with wifi and a decent screen for "in commute" entertainment!

Paddy O said...

To celebrate America, I present 3 3/4 minutes of Harleys with flags riding by at our local 4th of July parade.

Now that is America!

Firehand said...

Yes, it's a motorcycle. A Very Modern SWPL-Type Motorcycle.

I was beat to it: try riding that thing in Oklahoma this time of year and you'd die from heat stroke.

I don't object to electric vehicles, they're fine for a lot of people. But until I see actual real-world tests that it'll go 200 miles without charging, no thank you. Took my bike to Fort Worth a few weeks back, and I KNOW it'll take me well over 200 miles, at 75-80, with no problem.

Firehand said...

I'll throw in, my objection to electric vehicles isn't the vehicles themselves: it's the people who think the power to charge the battery magically appears from an outlet without requiring generation somewhere.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Firehand,

OTOH, if you're in Oregon and have a ca. 30-mile (one-way) commute, that puppy might be quite practical.

My husband has such a commute. He used to bicycle to and from work, but that was when we were in the Bay Area (so: less rain), and the distance was 12 miles each way. He could probably bike to and from school -- he's done a "metric century" (i.e., 100KM) -- but he sure as hell wouldn't be able to do it five days a week. Besides, he teaches at more than one school a day, and it is both unwise and risky to transport musical instruments via bike. Especially big ones.

This thing, though ... you could totally stick a violin or viola case in the back of that, so long as it was an instrument you could stand losing in the event of a smash-up.

The worry for me would be the flywheels' electronic controls. If those fail, vehicle handling and stability are going to be radically different, suddenly.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Firehand,

I'll throw in, my objection to electric vehicles isn't the vehicles themselves: it's the people who think the power to charge the battery magically appears from an outlet without requiring generation somewhere.

Amen to that. There really are people who don't realize that "electricity" doesn't come out of the socket by magic. That said, there are economies of scale here. It's not really possible to get the same fraction of usable energy out of fuel with a small engine as it is with a power plant. You have transmission losses through power lines and the like, and there is the whole messy situation of materials for batteries that is never factored in either, but all the same ...

rhhardin said...

@ann
fill up a horse trough in the deck

It's probably too heavy for the deck. Put it on the ground, and use the 3 foot height for irrigation.

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna Newton's 3rd law. The ocean pushes on the generator. The generator pushes back on the ocean. The Moon pulls the ocean, but the ocean also pulls the Moon. They are not isolated from each other. When you increase the force on the ocean from the Earth by making the ocean turn a wheel, you slow down the Moon. This is all due to force.

But the generator doesn't introduce force that there wouldn't have been anyway.

All new energy introduced into the tides is lost to heat. That's why the tides don't keep growing.

If anything, by making the shoreline work more as an absorbing boundary, the amplitude of the tides is reduced by building generators, and that in turn reduces the rate that new energy is introduced into the tides by making the earth rounder.

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna

An easier way to see that stopping progression introduces a torque in the direction of the original torque, not opposing it.

Consider two counterrotating gyroscopes instead.

Obviously they just fall over under torque, because the net angular momentum is zero.

Now analyse them separately.

The falling torque on the first has the result of making it precess right.

The falling torque on the second has the result of making it precess left.

The gyroscopes are tied together, so the precess left force exactly cancels the precess right force.

This is exactly the same torque that the motorcycle wheels apply to the original gyroscope.

The result must be the same in both cases: the motorcycle falls over.

Quaestor said...

The worry for me would be the flywheels' electronic controls. If those fail, vehicle handling and stability are going to be radically different, suddenly.

From the Lit video and the skeletal-view digital rendering one can surmise that the gyros (there are two counter-rotating gyros mounted just below the floor at or very near the loaded vehicle's center of mass) are not very big, say no more than 175mm in diameter. If the total inertial moment is 1300 lbs-ft then these gyros are either very massive (unlikely) or spinning very fast on near friction-less bearings, which means that they're not going to fail suddenly.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin:But the generator doesn't introduce force that there wouldn't have been anyway.

If it did not change the magnitude of the force, or the time or distance over which that force is applied, then the tidal generator could not produce energy. Mechanical energy is transferred as work.

An easier way to see that stopping progression introduces a torque in the direction of the original torque, not opposing it.

I don't know what this has to do with anything. I linked to video showing you that a vertical spinning rotor is stable with respect to roll. I even did all the cross-products for you in my 2:17 post.

Like I said before, I have a Ph. D. in physics. If you'd like me to walk you through all the steps give me your email and I'll send you a pdf. I can't draw diagrams or write equations here.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@rhhardin: If gyroscopic stabilization doesn't work, why have gyroscopic stabilization systems been put on ships since at least 1930?

Shouldn't that be a clue that your analysis of the dynamics is a little off?

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna
I don't know what this has to do with anything. I linked to video showing you that a vertical spinning rotor is stable with respect to roll. I even did all the cross-products for you in my 2:17 post.

It's an easy way to see that you have the sign on the torque wrong.

The video shows that a gyroscope under no torque is stable, not that it resists torque. If you torque it, it precesses, as the video shows as well.

If you stop it from precessing under torque, then we have the question at hand. The torque continues, it can't precess, what does it do?

It goes in the direction of the torque, like any nonrotating object. The non-precess torque precesses it in the direction of the original torque, to put it in the form of cascaded precessions.

Under your theory, you couldn't turn the handlebars on a bicycle held rigidly upright with wheel turning.

The experience is that it's exactly as easy as with the wheel stationary. There may be an enormous force trying to precess the frame, but the frame applies that force back on the wheel, precessing it into the turning of the handlebars, which is why it's easy. The effect is as if the wheel were two counterrotating wheels. In fact the force analysis is equivalent for the two cases.

If it did not change the magnitude of the force, or the time or distance over which that force is applied, then the tidal generator could not produce energy.

The energy would have been lost somewhere else instead. The wave goes further up the river, and applies its force against a few extra miles of sea bed, instead of running the generator.

There's exactly the same amount of tidal energy lost as comes in. Otherwise the tides would be constantly growing, or constantly fading away.

rhhardin said...

@Gabriel Hanna
If gyroscopic stabilization doesn't work, why have gyroscopic stabilization systems been put on ships since at least 1930?

Shouldn't that be a clue that your analysis of the dynamics is a little off?


It's a roll damper, it takes roll energy and turns it to heat, working against the boat's pitch axis as a fixed platform. It depends on the boat rolling to do this.

There are also active gyroscopic systems, which generate precession to counteract falling over, no different from a tightrope walker using a long pole. He's also active - the pole itself doesn't do it, but the manipulation of it.

John Lynch said...

Why don't people get that we have cars for a reason?

I can't put pizzas on a motorcycle, I can't take the kid to school on a motorcycle, and I can't go grocery shopping on a motorcycle.

Why do people assume that what's good for a 20 year old is good for everyone?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

John Lynch,

Why don't people get that we have cars for a reason?

I can't put pizzas on a motorcycle, I can't take the kid to school on a motorcycle, and I can't go grocery shopping on a motorcycle.

Why do people assume that what's good for a 20 year old is good for everyone?


Who's assuming any such thing? Does the existence of a vehicle you don't want harm you in any way?

I think an electric bike with an enclosure and a ca. 200 mi. range on a charge would be extremely useful for some people. You know, like, people with longish commutes in wet climates who have no one with whom to carpool.

I sent a note about this to my husband, now teaching in the wilds of Colorado (having got there in his RAV4, not on an electric bike) and he said what I thought, that it was basically the perfect vehicle for his particular commute. Well, not at that price it isn't, but otherwise ...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

John Lynch,

I can't put pizzas on a motorcycle, I can't take the kid to school on a motorcycle, and I can't go grocery shopping on a motorcycle.

ADDED: And you can't take a school double bass up to Portland for repairs in a Mini Cooper, which is one reason why we bought the RAV4. But the Mini is fine for most other things, including picking up pizzas and grocery shopping.

You can't fit seven people in a Mini, and you can in a RAV4. The mere existence of the Mini means, obviously, that what's suitable for a childless middle-aged couple is suitable for everyone. Just as the mere existence of the RAV4 means that what's suitable for large families (or people who occasionally have to transport double basses) is suitable for everyone.

wv: cupture 19

John Lynch said...

The article was selling this as a car replacement, and the man who invented it said that cars are "a waste" because most people drive them by themselves. I like cars, and it's fine with me that they come in all different sizes. Bikes, too.

Cars aren't a waste, because they serve many functions other than individual transportation. This is in no way a car replacement. Many people can only afford one vehicle, and that means a car. A tiny vehicle is only good as a second or third car.

The man I sold my Jeep Cherokee to used a RAV4 to deliver the mail for many years. It's OK, but a bit too small for the job. My Corolla has carried many things, most recently a 6 foot helium tank for work. Cars need cargo space.

My main point is that people buy and drive cars for utility, not mere vanity, and if a purported replacement vehicle cannot do all the things cars do it won't be a replacement.

I don't mind having a lot of choices, but I do mind the silliness I read about when media people talk about Americans' obsession with cars. We have them for a reason. If it can't go to work, the grocery store, take the kids to school, and so on, then it's a affectation or for single people. And that's a minority. Since we're talking about replacing cars, nothing that doesn't appeal to the mass market will work.

Rusty said...

John Lynch said...
The article was selling this as a car replacement, and the man who invented it said that cars are "a waste" because most people drive them by themselves. I like cars, and it's fine with me that they come in all different sizes. Bikes, too


I drive my pickup by myself all the time. I'm waitin for the enviros to come up with an F250 like vehicle that gets good mileage and that I can toss 2500 pounds of steel in the back of and drive it 500 miles.

TWM said...

Someone might have pointed this out, but the biggest safety issue for motorcycles is not the rider or the bike, but the cars and drivers around them. A bike can drive itself and still won't avoid some moron turning left in front of it.

Joe said...

A big advantage of this vehicle is that it tends to keep the body inside when it get run over by a big rig. The video of this thing going airborne would be quite interesting.

Firehand said...

Michelle: Amen. If it suits someones' needs, that's great; in a climate like yours it would work very nicely for a lot of people.

On the 'can't go to the grocery store on a MC', yes, you can; you're limited on how much you can get, true; but over time I've brought everything from a whole ribeye(very handy Givi trunk on the back) and veggies, to bread and eggs to a 40lb sack of critter food strapped on the passenger seat.
Not to mention the time I brought a new boomstick and a case of 1000 rounds of ammo home on it.

As to the 'one person in a car is a waste' crap, that depends on how far you're going, the weather, what all you have to carry, plus the simple "None of your damned business what I drive" factor.

がんこもん said...

I met Mr. Kim at Maker Faire a month or so back and got to see the C1 - both the mockup with body and the working prototype. That is a fascinating vehicle. And I have to confess that I'd love to ride/drive that creation of his.

WV: ndeconda. A predatory snake who speaks Swahili.

Clare Westby said...

Motorcycle safety shouldn’t be a one-way street. No matter how safe the manufacturers and designers make them, if you customize your bike too much, or if you constantly push the limits of safe driving on the road, then you still run the risk of accidents, maybe even more than average. I’m sure the owner or designer of the motorcycle in the picture you posted was or is quite proud of it, but I, for one, probably wouldn’t take that out on even the mildly busy roads. Safety should always be the priority!

Clare Westby

Hannah Parkin said...

The customization is definitely interesting, and I’m sure it’s garnered quite a lot of fans. However, I have to agree with Clare and the main sentiment in the comments. Safety should always come first, so customization should not be taken too far. Just because it’s awesome to look at doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your bike.

Hannah Parkin