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Invention: PedalCell Provides Cyclists Power

Student Vishaal Mali's startup puts pedal power to good use.

pedalcell numbered
Image: Nathan Keay

Fall 2019

Vishaal Mali, a McCormick School of Engineering senior, understood that more people might ride bikes if there was a reliable source of power onboard. So he started PedalCell with his University of Michigan–based co-founder, Adam Hokin. The two developed technology to convert the kinetic energy from a bike into stable and continuous electricity. PedalCell’s CadenceX product can power a rider’s devices, including a smartphone, bike lights and GPS. Chicago-based Future Founders named PedalCell one of its 2018 Outstanding Student Startups of the Year at its EntrepreneurshipU Awards last spring.

1. USB Ports

Located in the Power Hub, the two USB-C ports allow riders to constantly use electricity during their rides. The high-power port is used for phones or GPS. The slower charge port is good for lights and other safety devices that need less power but stay on for longer periods.

2. Smart Power Hub

The brains of the system, the Smart Power Hub allocates how the generated power is used via PedalCell’s patent-pending technology. An onboard microcontroller reads rider speed and other data to decide how much power to distribute so that there is always power available on a ride with minimal drag.

3. High-Efficiency Generator

Attached to the front fork of the bicycle, a custom-designed brushless DC generator creates energy from the spinning of the wheel. Its output can reach up to 20 watts, six times more power than most other dynamo generators.

On in Minutes, Off in Seconds

CadenceX can be added onto almost any existing bicycle in minutes with an easy-to-use lockable clamp. And riders can easily turn the product on or off via a built-in decoupling mechanism.

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