Urban Transport

EDWARD - a diwheel student-built vehicle that really works

EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
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EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
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EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
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EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
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EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
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EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
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EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)

Designed and built by a team of students from Australia's University of Adelaide, EDWARD is a futuristic, purely electric dicycle - also known as a diwheel. Although it looks like transportation from the realm of science fiction, the vehicle is fully operational and can be controlled with surprising precision.

EDWARD is an acronym which stands for Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping. A diwheel is similar to a monowheel, in which the rider's seat is located inside the wheel. However, in the case of EDWARD, there are two axially aligned wheels instead of one, and the seat is located between them. Mechanical Engineering students have been working on the project since 2009, and it now seems to be close to completion - the designers have achieved quite a high level of controllability and stability.

One might think that such a diwheel design could make it hard to keep the rider's seat level, especially when using the brakes or accelerating (the so-called "gerbiling" effect, in which the rider rocks like a gerbil in an exercise wheel). However, due to "in-built lateral stability and slosh control," EDWARD allows riders to move in any direction, while their seat stays in a fixed position. The control system calculates and sets the best level of the seat after each movement.

EDWARD's maximum speed is 25 mph (40 kph).

EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)
EDWARD (Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping) is a student-built electric, working dicycle (Image: University of Adelaide)

While regular upright riding is entirely possible, users can also ride the vehicle upside-down, should they wish. Controlling an inverted ride is made possible through the use of a combined swingup and inversion controller, the EDWARD team explains.

The vehicle is driven via a joystick, and there's also a touchscreen-based control panel. The rider's safety is achieved through a five-point racing harness, that keeps them from falling out.

It looks like EDWARD might become a really fun attraction at amusement parks, at first. However, it's possible that the vehicle will prove to be much more useful, and could ultimately become an eco-friendly, silent and safe mean of transportation in the future.

Take a look at it in action in the video below.

EDWARD - Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping

18 comments
Andrew Cox
I want one!!
Mr Stiffy
I have seen some of these things - in really great Yewwww Tube videos.... Emergency or hard stop.... and then the rider and machine go: \"WoooooOOOO, WoooooOOOO, WoooooOOOO\" - headlong into the oncoming traffic and then off into the trees..... Something about the advantages of leverage, widely spaced points of contact and gravity. Not to say that these things are not nice at lower speed - but the emergency or hard braking does have this one fundamental drawback.
Jacob Shepley
Mr Garrison\'s \"IT\" springs to mind
JimPike
Emergency hard braking could be accomplished by rapidly turning 90 degrees like a skater. This could easily be built into the logic making sure the c of g is at it\'s lowest point for the turn to prevent rollover. Perhaps the weight could be biased to one side for such a maneuver statically or even dynamically like leaning vehicles such as the Carver.
Burnerjack
Ya know, if you put one wheel BEHIND the other.......
Charles Bosse
@ Stiffy: I\'m pretty sure that a racing harness inside what looks like a pretty good roll cage is sufficient to keep you from ending up in a tree... and at a top speed of 25 mph, I\'ve pulled hard stops on a skateboard going faster - and haven\'t ended up in any trees yet.
Walt Stawicki
The human brain has all evolutionary history of and d behind body control at speed and for body allignment. This is why skateboarding seems simple. Because it is now hardwired into the meat machine interface. Oout engineer that? DONT think so! That \"TURN90deg.\" Might be easy for aa meatsuit alone...but telling a dumb device-the diwheel- might not be so userendly or as intuitive.
alcalde
I\'m till fretting over today\'s story about Chinese genetically engineered cows that produce human breast milk. What if China sees this story and produces genetically engineered six-feet-long gerbils to ride in this giant exercise wheel?!?
bligrdrv
When stopped, what keeps it from rolling downhill? Automatic chocks?
Jim Reeves
I,m 67 years old and if I had the chance I sure would try one, looks like a blast to me!