Today’s Solutions: January 31, 2023

Wouldn’t it be great if you could help improve the air quality in your city just by cycling on its streets? Soon you might actually be able to do that thanks to a brilliant invention called Rolloe.

Created by Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) 2020 award winner Kristen Tapping, Rolloe is an augmented bicycle wheel that filters outdoor air pollution when in use. The idea taps into the fact that the motion of bike wheels creates kinetic energy, which can be used to aid the air filtration process.

With an understanding that the motion of bike wheels creates kinetic energy, Tapping, a third-year product design student, began developing a prototype out of cardboard cutouts. After experimenting with a variety of techniques, she managed to produce the vacuum and expulsion required to pull the dirty air into the device and release the filtered air out through the other side.

The final design was then outfitted with a loofah, HEPA, and activated carbon filters to capture large and small particulates as well as noxious gases from the air. When in motion, the fins pull air through four layers of filtration, cleaning the air while the rider cycles through the city. While anyone can use Rolloe, the main target market is currently bike commuters and bike-sharing platforms.

To further incentivize riders to use the device, Rolloe will also feature an app that allows users to share distance information and set goals. According to Tapping, “If 10 percent of all London cyclists had one Rolloe installed on their bike, they would filter approximately 266,865m³ of air — 20 times the size of Trafalgar Square.”

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