This ingenious clip-on motor gives any bike an electric boost

If you’re looking to upgrade your ride to an e-bike, then you generally have two options: Either install a complicated retrofit kit, or ditch your analog bike altogether and buy a ready-made electric one. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an easier option? Well, thanks to Austrian startup go-e, there finally is.

Unlike most of other retrofittable e-bike kits out there right now, the ONwheel is designed to be installed in just a few minutes. Using just two screwdrivers, the device can be affixed to just about any bicycle. Once you’ve got the mounts on, the electric drive module can be clipped on or off in seconds.

This unique clip-on motor system is made possible by ONwheel’s clever design. It’s basically like a scaled-up, repurposed version of the hot shoe on your DSLR, so you can clip on the drive unit in the same way you’d slide an external flash onto your camera. Once it’s there, it draws power from the rechargeable battery (which you mount inside your bike’s frame), and allows you to boost up hills or along straightaways.

go-e-ONwheel

Despite looking a little rudimentary on the outside, the ONwheel drive unit is actually fairly sophisticated. The motor features clever swing-arm design that allows it to engage when you’re pedaling and disengage when you’re not, and users can adjust the level of pedal assist (from totally off all the way up to doing all the work) via buttons mounted on their handlebars.

The motor is set to a default maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour (15.5 mph) in order to meet EU regulations — but can be adjusted with the accompanying smartphone app to reach speeds as high as 45 kilometers per hour (28 mph). Range varies depending on the terrain you’re riding on and the power level you’re using, but according to ONwheel’s creators,  cycling at a moderate power level should give you approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) of battery range.

ONwheel isn’t quite ready for primetime, but go-e has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help jumpstart production. Back the project now during the early stages, and you can lock down an ONwheel for a pledge of about $580. The project has already met and exceeded its $55,000 funding goal, so assuming that production goes smoothly, the go-e team expects to begin shipping as early as October

Wearables

To be blunt, the Vuzix Blade smartglasses just don’t cut it

We tried out the Vuzix Blade to find out if it’s worth shelling out $1,000 for smartglasses. Are these augmented reality, Android-powered glasses really ready for primetime or just an expensive gimmick that no one really needs?
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Product Review

Canon democratizes full-frame with the EOS RP, but keep your expectations low

At just $1,300, the RP is Canon's least expensive full-frame camera yet, but it was born into a world of high-end, high-cost lenses where it doesn't yet feel at home.
Product Review

Bigger battery and folding top add appeal, but BMW’s i8 remains ultra-niche

Want a high-performance vehicle that's more than just a frightening driving experience? Desire the look and feel of a sports car with the road manners of a luxury commuter? The BMW i8 is for you.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-powered website creates freakishly lifelike faces of people who don’t exist

No, this isn't a picture of a missing person. It's a face generated by a new artificial intelligence on the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com. Here's how the impressive A.I. works.
Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Emerging Tech

China’s mind-controlled cyborg rats are proof we live in a cyberpunk dystopia

Neuroscience researchers from Zhejiang University, China, have created a method that allows humans to control the movements of rats using a technology called a brain-brain interface.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s MAVEN orbiter has a new job as a communication relay for Mars 2020

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has been collecting atmospheric readings but now is taking on a new job as a data relay satellite for the Mars 2020 mission that launches next year.
Emerging Tech

Underground volcanoes could explain possible liquid water on Mars

Last year scientists discovered there could be liquid water on Mars. Now a research team argues that for there to be liquid water, there must be an underground source of heat -- and they believe underground volcanoes could be responsible.
Emerging Tech

The 10 most expensive drones that you (a civilian) can buy

OK, these drones may be a bit beyond your budget: Check out the most expensive drones in the world, from industrial giants to highest-end filming tools.
Computing

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Emerging Tech

A river of stars one billion years old flows across the southern sky

Astronomers have identified a river of stars flowing across our galaxy and covering most of the southern sky. The estimated 4000 stars that comprise the stream were born together and have been moving together for the last one billion years.
Emerging Tech

Descending at an angle could be key to landing heavier craft on Mars

Landing on Mars is a challenge: The heavier the craft, the more difficult a safe landing becomes. Scientists propose using retropropulsion engines and angling the craft to create a pressure differential to land heavier crafts in the future.