I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


4 June 2014

Jyrobike: the stable bicycle for beginners

I have just watched a BBC piece on the Jyrobike, a stable bicycle for beginners. It uses a gyroscopic effect to ensure that the bicycle corrects any tendency to topple over. A flywheel within the front wheel spins faster than the front wheel, providing an effect which keeps the front wheel stable if it has a tendency to topple over.

The Wikipedia article on the Jyrobike explains that it came out of a graduate project at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, between 2004 and 2007. Unusually, of the four students, three were women. In 2010 fellow Dartmouth student Daniella Reichstetter licensed the technology and set up a company called Gyrobike. Once attached, their Gyrowheel changed a bicycle into a Gyrobike. This apparently caused confusion, as the company didn't make actual bicycles. Thousands of the hubs were sold.

Further confusion may have been caused when in 2013 Robert Bodill, an Australian entrepreneur based in the UK, acquired the rights (see the Thayer press release) and renamed the company Jyrobike. The official Jyrobike website says it is asking for funds on Kickstarter. Over $33,000 has so far been raised in its goal of $100,000 says their Kickstarter page, which includes a video.

So far a US patent has been granted, US7314225, as long ago as 2008, System for providing gyroscopic stablilization to a two-wheeled vehicle. Notice the use of "vehicle" rather than "bicycle". Here is the main drawing.

The control hub is shown in the drawing below.

A European patent is awaiting grant as examination is underway. The European Register documents for EP1907270 show that in March 2014 the applicant's name and address was given as Gyrobike Ltd. in London, England rather than Gyro-Precession Stability LLC, the name used on the published US grant. The confusion over Gyrobike and Jyrobike is, I suggest, unfortunate. Gyrobike is registered as a US trade mark but Jyrobike is not even pending, according to valuable free database tmQuest. Jyrobike is pending registration in the European trade mark system.

It is possible that a US patent from 1981, Powercycle, is causing problems for the European grant as a source of prior art. That in turn has been cited by 18 documents which are for similar technology by other published inventions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stephen, this is Rob the founder of Jyrobike. Great article and research and thanks for the support. We have applied for a trademark for the name Jyrobike and filed four new inventive patents for our new Control Hub product that we are launching on Kickstarter. Happy to answer any questions. I also wrote a blog on why we changed the name that you can find at our website www.jyrobike.com/blog. Cheers, Rob.