Lab Rats: “Designer” Vehicles
In the second article in our series ‘Lab Rats’, we take a look at the latest innovations in the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay. If you too would like to use this platform showcase your research, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.orgIndustrial Design Centre (IDC) of IIT Bombay: a place where out-of-the-box projects run all round the year was recently found to have these extremely cute and uber cool yellow and orange coloured ‘plastic scooters’ in one of their workspaces. A similar vehicle was spotted many a times in the campus. Insight brings to you the backstory of these brightly-coloured, toy-like vehicles.
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Chief Editors: Anshul Avasthi, Chirag Chadha
Professor Munshi, a professor of Ergonomics at IDC, heads multiple interesting projects that aim to make existing products more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. One such project is creating battery operated, pollution-free motorised vehicles as a part of a two-year course on mobility (styling of vehicles). These are designed especially for women and children, and are quite suitable for niche areas like campuses. The project focuses on micromobility, i.e., creating lightweight vehicles with high speed and power ranges.
The project focuses on micromobility, i.e., creating lightweight vehicles with high speed and power ranges.
Their technical specifications set them apart. The vehicles are front wheel driven, as opposed to usual vehicles which are generally rear wheel driven, with a motor embedded in the wheel. This motor balances the weight of the battery places under the seat, which leads to better control of the vehicle. The body of the vehicle is made out of a single mould of polyester resin, making them extremely lightweight. Currently, three prototypes – two 2-wheelers and one 3-wheeler have been designed. All of them run on a 24 Volt battery, covering about 20kms upon charging for two hours. While the 2-wheelers can attain a maximum speed of 20 km/hr, the 3-wheeler can reach up to 30 km/hr.
The vehicles are being tested in the institute, with the 3-wheeler regularly being used by the postwoman who deliver mails across the campus.
The vehicles are being tested in the institute, with the 3-wheeler regularly being used by the postwoman who deliver mails across the campus. The aim now is to increase the speed and power of the vehicle to make them suitable for marketing. A few years down the lane, we hope to see roads flooded by these products!