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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Urban Transportation Without The Congestion - Sweeb

In 2008 Google announced  it's Project 10^100 to fund innovative research aimed at world changing ideas and promptly received more than 150,000 categories from the public for which to consider funding. In September of this year Google Inc. announced an investment of $1,000,000 USD in a project/product named Shweeb, to assist with transit research and development.

Shweeb is a derivation of a German word "schweben", meaning to "float" or "suspend". As the tale goes, Shweeb's inventor Geoffrey Banett was living in Tokyo in the late 90's and found it extremely frustrating and unsafe to ride his bicycle to work each day. The English teacher's students also expressed their concerns and planted the seed for the development of Shweeb. Currently deployed at an adventure park in New Zealand Barnett plans to announce shortly where the first practical implementation as a public transportation system will take place. 

"Although it is pedal-powered like a bicycle, it's got none of the resistances that are inherent in a bicycle, being that you're riding feet-first into the wind with a very small frontal area," he said. "The wind resistance is really low compared to a bicycle. ... I can see people of any age and any fitness level being able to cover a kilometer [0.62 miles] without any effort at all, let alone sweat."

Source: CNN &