Most everyone knows about the poor air conditions in Beijing and with China expected to add 20 million cars to the road next year, this concept makes logical sense.  Lots of people ride a bike in China and offering a safer way for them to do what they already while removing some of the air is a great idea.

Matt Hope wearing his air filtration system powered by his bike.

Matt Hope wearing his air filtration system powered by his bike.

For me, though, that’s where it stops. This bicycle would be fun to ride if it weren’t packing around 5000 volts of electricity!  Matt Hope, the inventor of this bicycle, wanted to solve the way that air was filtered while riding his bike in Beijing.  A typical air filtration mask does filter out a lot of the bad particles in the air, but does so at the cost of blocking some of the air that your lungs are trying to breathe in.  This makes it feel like you are suffocating while you’re riding your bike.  I’m sure you, like me, would find this rather unpleasant.

So, he set out to make something better.  Using his knowledge of electrical and mechanical systems, he pieced together this air filtration system that is powered by the person riding the bike.  There is a generator that rides on top of the rear tire that powers the unit.  Electricity is amplified then to power the air filtration unit that positively charges the particles in the air, causing them to stick to the metallic end of the unit.  The rest of the air is now much cleaner and safely passes through a tube into the mask that the rider wears.

Now all of this is impressive.  It took a lot of thinking to put all of this together and the know how to do it all.  To me, though, this should be simplified and can be done rather easily.  Matt has already mounted a fan to the top of the helmet that he wears to pull hot air out of the helmet (another good idea, mind you).  Why not build a full face helmet with three fans?  Two on the face near your cheek that pull air into the helmet across two filters and one in the top of the helmet to pull the air out.  You could power the fans via batteries, a generator on the bike or small solar panels.

Is this concept brilliant?  Yes.  I hope for Matt’s sake, he continues to rework the design into something safer.

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