Let's take another jump into the future, where the idea of what a motorcycle is, or could be, is expanded beyond the current concepts. Like the Aerofex ducted fan hovercraft, does a motorcycle have to be planted on the ground and rolling on wheels to be exciting? And what about racing? Why not low altitude racing with some of the the freedom of flying? Want to be clean and green? OK, toss that in, too. What do you have with all of that? Rail Racers!
Stefan Hermann from Germany sent me a note about the design project he created for his degree in industrial design. The whole thing just made me smile as I looked at it because he took the idea of electric racers, launched it off the ground, then gave it some of the freedom of flying and that's the key. The racers are electric but they get their power from the overhead raceway, they can fly free for a short while on capacitor power but at reduced performance until they again touch the track for full power, so the racers can jostle for position and fly free for a bit, but go too long off the raceway and you'll need to fly down for a landing and lose the race.
The race tracks can be set up in places where you couldn't normally build a track of any sort, you just need a structure to suspend it, maybe even temporarily, run the race and remove it. The electricity, in Stefan's design, comes from all of the usual eco-sources, like windmills, hydropower and solar panels so it keeps it ecologically friendly.
Is the design practical? We can debate those possibilities and problems, but until the racers themselves are proven to work, the rest of the plan is just a dream, but if they do work, whoa!
Stefan has come up with a wide range of designs for an array of different items, the rail racers are the most ambitious and I think, show a nice out of the box "fringe of possibility" thinking that may, in the future, be perfectly within the realm of accepted engineering. He's on the lookout for new projects and interesting people to work with, too, so if you need a designer with some very interesting ideas, Stefan has a portfolio you may want to look at.
Nice work, Stefan!
Link: Stefan Hermann