Bob Parlee & Parlee Cycles
Prius x Parlee
Prius x Parlee
The Prius x Parlee project is a first and concrete step toward a really intuitive user experience thanks to the combination of a refined performance bicycle and the most advanced brain reading technologies.
Prius x Parlee
The project is a collaboration between Toyota Prius Projects, Parlee Cycles, and Deep Local. The resulting working concept is the world’s first thought shifting bicycle. Parlee produced a specially designed Aero-Road Bicycle for the project that was designed to integrate the neural hardware/ software developed by Deep Local.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
In early 2011 Toyota Prius Projects contacted Parlee Cycles of Beverly, MA, and Deep
Local an Interaction Design studio in Pittsburgh, PA, and proposed the creation of a concept bicycle. The project’s goal was to embody the innovation and values of the Toyota Prius, while introducing cutting edge thought-reading neural technology.
Parlee Cycles brought a deep understanding of custom carbon fiber bicycle building technology, years of formal experience, as well as experience with bicycle aerodynamics. Deep local developed the hardware and software necessary in integrating a 3rd party brain wave reading head set, and an electronic shifting system into the bicycle design.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
On the part of Parlee months of research, prototyping and iterative development went into finding the ideal form for a Prius inspired bicycle. It is difficult to quantify founder Bob Parlee’s decades of experience in carbon fiber boat and bicycle design, and how much that filtered into the conception of this bicycle. Final prototypes were wind tunnel tested to verify the desired aerodynamics and drag reduction desired.
Deep Local brought there expertise and flexibility in creating interactive experiences to the digital aspect of the project. They were able to very resourcefully and efficiently take complicated brain wave reading technology, and integrate it into a nuts and bolts working solution.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Like the Prius, the Prius x Parlee Aero-Road Bike is a “hybrid”. In this case a hybrid of the streamlined design of a time-trial bicycle and the versatility and performance of a road bike. The resulting bicycle integrated aerodynamics and digital technology into a beautifully conceived whole. Parlee specializes in bicycles designed with rider customized tuning and geometry, and have always aspired for their bikes to “disappear beneath the rider”. This collaboration with Toyota and Deep Local extends this metaphor, making the bicycle an extension of the brain as well as the rider’s body.This application of the technology has far reaching implications, for creating intelligent objects that can seamlessly integrate with a user’s behaviors. In the case of the bicycle, the neural technology could learn the rider’s gearing at specific geographical points along a ride, and then use this information to shift through the terrain automatically.