the electric exoskeleton motorcycle

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the electric exoskeleton motorcycle
STUDENT
RADICALS
There's still talk of revolution on campus . But the 21st- century student has
something very different from anarchy in mind-think hydrogen cars and
homes on the moon BY ANNEMARIE CONTE AND ESTHER HAYNES
THE ELECTRIC
EXOSKELETON
MOTORCYCLE
and capable of hitting 75 mph. "I never
envisioned this as a commuter," he says.
"This is a sport bike."
WHAT 'S NEXT Deus exists only in a few
deceptively realistic computer illustrations,
but Loniak is confident that it can be built.
"I believe a working prototype could be
made, but it would take a great deal of
time and engineering," he says. The basic
Inventor: Jake Loniak, junior
technology already exists; the Watertown,
ART CENTER COLLEGE OF DESIGN , PASADENA , CALIF.
Massachusetts, start-up A123 is already
selling the lithium-ion batteries Loniak
THE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM at the
like riding two skateboards at once, but wants to use, and a number of companies
Art Center College of Design has prostable, because the machine supports the are developing ultracapacitors for electric
duced legendary car designers, including
rider's body," Loniak explains. These two cars and hybrids. "This isn't fantasy," he
BMW chief of design Chris Bangle and
skateboards, however, would be powered says. "It's a green vehicle, and all of the
Henrik Fisker, the creator of the Fisker
by lithium-ion batteries and ultracapacitors numbers are based in the real world."
Karma electric supercar. But this year,
after professor Bumsuk Lim's inaugural
STOP, DROP, AND ROLL This is not
motorcycle-design class, the buzz is all
a ride for the faint of heart. To get
about bikes, especially Jake Loniak's
going , the rider Leans forward and
starts down the road headfirst.
exoskeleton motorcycle concept Deus Ex
Machina. Actually, to call Deus a "motorcycle" is a bit of a stretch. It would stand
vertically when parked, so that the rider
can step in and strap the bike on like a
full-body suit. A computer would interpret
the rider's body movements, translate
those into directional commands for the
motorcycle, and steer the bike using 36
pneumatic muscles (artificial muscles made
by the German company Festo that inflate
or deflate to change the direction). "It's
SE3 POPULAR SCIENCE SEPTEMBER 2008
A AT EASE Once the bike is parked,
the rider can strap it on Like a suit.
t SKELE-CYCLE Thirty-six
pneumatic muscles control this
wearable motorcycle , taking
commands from the rider's body
movements.
POPSCI.COM POPULAR SCIENCE 57

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