Sunday, November 29, 2009

Motorcycles that don't Fall

So I've been toying with this idea for a very long time now, definitely more than a year. And so I far I haven't done anything about it except for writing it down on a piece of paper. But then I saw this and thought that the least that I can do is to post this on my blog. Unfortunately youtube has disabled embedded video, so you'll have to go to youtube to watch the video.

See the video before you read any further.

All right! I hope that the motorcycle terminators got hold of your attention. More interestingly I hope that you were impressed by their maneuverability, how these motorcycles/terminators skillfully tackled the obstacles, that were being thrown at them, without losing their balance.

It may seems like an act of genius, although with out a doubt it is, but the science of falling while turning is very simple. When a motorcycle is turning there are two forces acting on it; the centripetal force and the centrifugal force. Centripetal force pulls the vehicle towards the inside of the circle and the centrifugal force pushes the vehicle outside. For a perfect turn these two forces should be balanced. In other words if centrifugal forces is higher then the vehicle will fall inside and if the centripetal force is higher the vehicle will fall outside.

I hope you haven't dozed off already. OK! if you are with me till now then let me continue. :)

The challenge is to make sure that every single time someone takes a turn, or in case of the terminator motorcycles dodging objects at 50mph, these forces remain balanced. Meaning that these forces remain equal an opposite to each other (remember Newton's 3rd Law of Motion?). Because this mismatch of the forces will make the motorcycle to lose its balance. And this usually happens so quickly that by the time the rider realizes that he's about to fall he actually falls.

So what are the factors that are governing these forces and affecting the fall? Well, there are 2 factors namely ; speed of the motorcycle and the radius of turn. That means to prevent a motorcycle from falling or to ensure that the forces acting on a motorcycle are balanced while turning all we need to do is tweak these two factors.

All we actually need are a couple sensing device and a couple of actuating devices that can perform the following functions:
a. A sensing device to measure the radius of turn (we already have that kind of device - it's called lean angle sensor - all FI bikes have it as a standard regulation but for a different reason.)
b. Speed sensor (all motorcycles have a speedometer)
c. An actuating device that will control the front wheel of the motorcycle. (meaning it will increase or decrease the radius of the turn by bypassing the rider and turning the front wheel based on requirement) - this thing needs to be invented
d. An actuating device that will control the speed of the vehicle (meaning it will increase or decrease the speed by bypassing the rider based on requirement)
e. And of course a small computer that would interpret and analyse the data sent by the sensors and direct the actuators to perform the action in micro-milli-seconds.

So how will this work? Well, I'll explain that later, the post has become too long already.


gau mau 9:50 AM  

*I'm writing this in the comments section because is kinda like P.S.*

High end cars like Mercedes etc. have a technology called ESC (electronic stability control) invented by Bosch that does the same thing. SO the idea is not completely new. The only thing is that nobody has made it cheap enough that it can be used in a common man's vehicle.

Mayank 1:23 PM  

Dude, you forgot banking. Especially important in a bike. Need to tilt the bike towards the center, the more you do the sharper turn you can make.
Btw, I don't remember seeing you driving bikes!

gau mau 2:56 PM  

hmm...thanks for the comment man! I will think about the banking angle point. About me riding bikes - yeah I didn't in college days but later I bought Ringo's enticer (which I still have) and I used to fall from it almost once a week. Hence the inspiration.