By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:25 AM on 19th October 2009
The sight of an anxious parent running close behind a child on a wobbling bicycle as they learn to ride it may soon be a thing of the past.
A company claims to have developed a front wheel that senses when the bike is starting to keel over and re-centres it beneath the rider's weight.
The wheel could replace traditional stabilisers for youngsters learning to travel on two wheels.
Look, no stabilisers! The Gyrowheel system has three stability settings which stop the the bike from wobbling or tipping over
The Gyrowheel system is the product of several years of research by U.S, firm Gyrobike and could be in shops here by next year.
Gyrobike chief executive Daniella Reichstetter said: 'Gyrowheel is the only product of its kind. It will change how people learn to ride bikes.'
Balancing act: The hard way
The Gyrowheel system has three stability settings - high, medium and low. As a rider's skills and confidence improve, the stability setting can be adjusted.
The wheel is the same size as an ordinary one but, instead of spokes, has a circular housing which contains an independently spinning disc powered by a rechargeable battery.
When switched on, this inner disc speeds up and spins independently of the outside wheel.
As the disc spins at high speed it creates a strong force that keeps the wheel upright. So, for example, if the bike begins to topple, the gyroscope compensates by leaning the wheel in the opposite direction. It works in a similar way to a child's spinning top, which is also a type of gyroscope.
When turned off the Gyrowheel, which will cost around £60, behaves like a standard bike wheel.
California-based Gyrobike's marketing boss Ashleigh Harris said: 'Our prototypes knocked the socks off parents whose kids tested Gyrowheel, and the real thing is ten times better.'
She added that the vast majority of children who tested Gyrowheel learned to ride in less than an hour.