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Nathan Groot-Nibbelink

Engineering students develop bike of the future

Nathan Groot NibbelinkIt’s a bicycle. With power. That folds to carry on and off a bus or train. It fits under a desk. And it’s really cool.

The judges of the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE) Global Collaborative Project think this portable assisted mobility device (PAMD) is cool too. They gave three UOIT Mechanical Engineering alumni two awards for developing a PAMD that provides an efficient and green way to travel in a city.

The students designed a device that functions as a pedal-operated bicycle, with an electric power option to make travelling longer distances easier. It also folds up. “Someone could, for example, ride three kilometres to the bus stop, fold it up, and take it on the bus," says Nathan Groot-Nibbelink, one of the designers. "Then they could ride another two kilometres from the bus to their destination, fold it up and store it at work or school, and then do the same thing on the way back. This device provides a clean-energy alternative to all those cars making the five-kilometre trip to work every day.”

Nathan and fellow University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) students Jacob Beenen and Jordan McDonnell - all 2013 Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) graduates - were teamed with three other universities, including McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and two others in Mexico. Their collaborative design won second place for Market Research and third place in the Ready for Production category at the 2013 PACE Forum in Pasadena, California. The PACE competition involves seven teams representing 34 universities around the world.

The PACE global PAMD project 

The PACE program links industry with strategically selected academic institutions worldwide, including UOIT, with the goal of developing the automotive product lifecycle management team of the future. Through the program, Engineering students develop practical skills in the core applications and processes they will use in high-technology careers in industry.

PACE launched a global collaborative project in 2012 challenging selected college teams to design a PAMD to solve mobility and sustainability problems within megacities. Students work with their professors and industry mentors to develop their designs for a small power-assisted vehicle that can be taken on public transit, stowed or carried indoors. 

Supervised by Dr. Atef Mohany, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Nathan, Jacob and Jordan completed the design and development of a portable assisted mobility device as their Capstone Study Project in their final year. The UOIT Capstone provides students with opportunities to develop a thorough understanding of the technology, environment, markets and operations of real organizations.

The three Engineering students applied their learning, hands-on and team experiences to develop an exceptionally innovative device with an exceptionally practical use. Commuters worldwide may soon be thanking them.

Nathan Groot Nibbelink
Class of 2013
BEng – Manufacturing Engineering
Production Engineer, Electrical Contacts
Jacob Bineen
Class of 2013
BEng – Automotive
Quality Engineer, Chrysler Group
Jordan McDonnell
Class of 2013
BEng – Mechanical