Bicycles

StreetFlyer: hang-gliding on three-wheels

Dr Carsten Mehring has designed a human-powered three-wheeler which suspends its user from a curved frame and is said to offer a sensation of flying along without worrying about getting air sick
Dr Carsten Mehring has designed a human-powered three-wheeler which suspends its user from a curved frame and is said to offer a sensation of flying along without worrying about getting air sick
View 6 Images
Flying through the park, harnessed into the StreetFlyer prototype built by students from Colorado's School of Mines Mechanical Engineering Department
1/6
Flying through the park, harnessed into the StreetFlyer prototype built by students from Colorado's School of Mines Mechanical Engineering Department
A number of different harness types are being considered before any commercial production begins, such as those used by movie stunt men
2/6
A number of different harness types are being considered before any commercial production begins, such as those used by movie stunt men
The steering mechanism on the prototype is based on that of a bicycle but Dr Mehring will be trying out a hang-glider approach for the StreetFlyer's next development
3/6
The steering mechanism on the prototype is based on that of a bicycle but Dr Mehring will be trying out a hang-glider approach for the StreetFlyer's next development
Dr Carsten Mehring has designed a human-powered three-wheeler which suspends its user from a curved frame and is said to offer a sensation of flying along without worrying about getting air sick
4/6
Dr Carsten Mehring has designed a human-powered three-wheeler which suspends its user from a curved frame and is said to offer a sensation of flying along without worrying about getting air sick
The user gains momentum by pushing the StreetFlyer along and then lifts up the legs to fly like a bird
5/6
The user gains momentum by pushing the StreetFlyer along and then lifts up the legs to fly like a bird
The next stage in development will see the frame being made of a lightweight material so that it can be transported on the user's back
6/6
The next stage in development will see the frame being made of a lightweight material so that it can be transported on the user's back

If the notion of flying through the air appeals then hang-gliding might be your first thought. But if your fear of heights keeps you closer to the ground then perhaps Dr Carsten Mehring's StreetFlyer may be of interest. The human-powered three-wheeler suspends its user from an arched frame so that when enough momentum is generated, the legs can be lifted off the ground and you're away – at a cruising altitude of just a few feet.

Dr Mehring, inventor of the Exoride foldable urban one-man transporter, says that he had the basic idea for a vehicle with a light-weight body providing lift a couple of years ago. About a year later, the concept was refined into the StreetFlyer design where a lightweight, collapsible and retractable frame supports a user suspended from a harness.

Unlike the two-wheeled GlideCycle, when enough momentum is achieved by the user running along, the legs are lifted and positioned on the footrests near the rear wheel and the user gets "the sensation of flying without actually taking off the ground."

A number of different harness types are being considered before any commercial production begins, such as those used by movie stunt men
A number of different harness types are being considered before any commercial production begins, such as those used by movie stunt men

He got in touch with the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado where he used to teach with a view to turning the concept into reality and the idea was picked up as a senior design project by the Mechanical Engineering Department. A team of students rose to the task and, after making a PVC-pipe mock-up, created the StreetFlyer prototype you see here. This version, where the user is suspended some three feet from the ground, is meant to be used for flat or downhill travel only.

Dr Mehring told us that he plans to work on a subsequent version which will benefit from a lighter frame and include electric motors. He sees this StreetFlyer's frame being light enough to be folded onto a user's back and will cater for a smooth transition from a running motion to "flying". It is also planned to move away from the bicycle-inspired steering approach of the current prototype to a mechanism closer to that used in hang-gliding.

In addition to being used for recreation, Dr Mehring told Gizmag that the StreetFlyer could also be useful for physical therapy, with a patient strapped in and able to move around while regaining muscle strength in the lower limbs.

Although Dr Mehring is hopeful that a commercially-available version of the StreetFlyer will be made in the future, he is not in a position to provide the necessary investment.

"Accordingly, I am hoping to attract investors or companies which are already in the business of manufacturing recreational vehicles such as bicycles, skateboards, scooters, etc.," he said.

Below is a video slide show of the design and manufacture process:

StreetFlyer Slide Show Final Version.wmv

14 comments
VoiceofReason
Interesting. If you attached pedals and gears on and near the back wheel, you\'d would eliminate that quirky foot action, plus coaster brakes.
BJG
Wow. That appears to be the single most cumbersome, akward, hard to store, inefficient, difficult to control, and unsafe inventions I\'ve ever seen.
Daniel Plata Baca
it\'s a shame this appears on gizmag...
Bill Bennett
Spot On BJG, Daniel,, seems useless, downhill or flat only? sheet, what do you do at the bottom of the hill? get eaten by a pack of wild dogs whilst hanging from the straps?
Neil
It looks fab! I have a setup that I use regularly. It allows me to travel at up to 25 mph suspended a few feet from the ground on two hoop-like devices. It\'s called a bicycle.
Colter Cederlof
Why do I need this weird contraption when I can just fly on my bicycle?! (ex:) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdb1M4nfhnw
Facebook User
I hope the ticket the cop gave them was for wasting my time and the idiocy of spending time and money on this. There was wheel wobble at what can only be 10mph!! Trying to run at that angle will cause some serious knee and ankle damage over a short space of time. Perhaps Gizmag should have a new category \"Only look at these if you\'ve got nothing better to do!\"
David Tobin
Could be handy for returning from a very serious session Pig&Whistle - no more tripping flat on your face - no more wobbly bike and in the ditch. I think everybody concerned with man-made global-warming should ditch their motorcars and be issued one of these - get that legislated for and I\'ll join the queue for investment into this thrilling concept.
Dave B13
Razor saw this and NOW SELLS the standup version. http://www.soleskate.com/us/ Seriously, could they now wait for April 1 , or did they submit this for April 1 of 2010?
Adrian Akau
This silly looking device might be responsible for saving lives. Hang gliding has resulted in injuries and deaths. I think that this is what Dr. Mehring had in mind when he designed it.