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StreetFlyer: hang-gliding on three-wheels


February 9, 2011

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

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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."

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:

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

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?

Dave B13

Interesting. If you attached pedals and gears on and near the back wheel, you\'d would eliminate that quirky foot action, plus coaster brakes.


Wow. That appears to be the single most cumbersome, akward, hard to store, inefficient, difficult to control, and unsafe inventions I\'ve ever seen.


it\'s a shame this appears on gizmag...

Daniel Plata Baca

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?

Bill Bennett

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.


Why do I need this weird contraption when I can just fly on my bicycle?! (ex:) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdb1M4nfhnw

Colter Cederlof

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!\"

Facebook User

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.

David Tobin

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.

Adrian Akau

This is a rubbish 3 wheeled hobby-horse, a 194 year-old design concept.http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=QzzMbadamppage_id=40616badampv=9L


Dudes, Please. Others have tried harder. The best you could do is try harder, not dumb it down.


Facebook User

What do you know? It\'s my design submission to Bicycle Design, again. Hammocks for everybody!


a similar design, laying down, was presented in the Human Powered Vehicle competition in 2009. it was very slow and the riders had some serious muscle problems. this design direction should be discouraged in all student endeavours. but if you really want to hurt yourself, go for it!

Joe Wesson
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