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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The 'Prius of bicycles' switches gears by reading your mind [CSM]


Parlee Cycles's new bike looks ordinary enough, but the helmet gives it away. Plastic tentacles reach down from the headgear, pressing metal sensors against the cyclist's scalp.
The PXP concept bike is a joint product of Toyota and Parlee Cycles, in Beverly, Mass. It has an in-helmet shifter that can read a rider’s neurotransmissions.
John Watson/Toyota

This snug but comfortable helmet has a secret power. It reads minds.
Its array of neurotransmitters sends signals to a smart phone attached to the bicycle's handlebars, which then connects to the gear system. With a little training, a cyclist can change gears with a thought. One kind of brain wave commands the bike to downshift; another causes it to shift up.
"Sounds kind of crazy, right?" says Patrick Miller, senior creative engineer at Deeplocal, the company responsible for the digital end of this Prius X Parlee bicycle (PXP). "We underestimated how magical it would feel to shift with your mind."
PXP is a joint venture of Deeplocal; Parlee Cycles, a bike manufacturer that handcrafts carbon-fiber bikes; and Toyota, maker of the Prius hybrid car.

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