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Thayer team develops innovative bike brake

Feb 05, 2018   |   The Dartmouth

"While bike riding is a quintessential part of childhood, it can often result in accidents and injury," writes the Dartmouth. "But what if there was a way to protect children from breakneck speeds?"

"That was the idea behind 'SpeedBreak,' an automatic brake invented by six members of the fall section of Engineering Sciences 21, “An Introduction to Engineering,” which provides students with hands-on experience in innovative engineering. The team — comprised of Stephen Crowe ’20, Natalie Garcia ’20, Paula Lenart ’20, Julia Marcotte ’20, Alexandra Stasior ’20 and Cameron Strong ’20 — created a bike emergency brake which uses centrifugal force to cap the maximum speed of a bicycle.

"The brake involved a stationary ring attached to a bike frame, which has T-shaped brake pads attached to its springs. As the wheel spins faster, the springs allow the pads to touch the ring. The resultant friction then slows the wheel.

"The team won the Jackson Prize for its invention, an award given at the end of the course for the best overall performance and functionality of prototype inventions. Following its success, the SpeedBreak team filed a patent for their invention with support from Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network director Jamie Coughlin."

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