During his remarkable life, Leonardo da Vinci designed versions of many extraordinary things that we use today – a calculator, a tank, and even a helicopter. But he also designed something that never quite cracked modern society – the monowheel or the one wheeled car.
The Dynasphere: Leonardo da Vinci’s Monowheel?
In 1932, Dr. John Purves, inspired by a da Vinci sketch, invented a strange monowheel vehicle known as the Dynasphere. Back then, monowheels were all the rage among inventors and were considered a potentially serious competitor to the car. This never materialized however, for reasons that will become apparent in a moment.
The Dynasphere was unique among other monowheels of its time, primarily because of its width. This provided stability so the driver didn’t have to worry about rebalancing the vehicle while driving it.
Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis
Amazingly enough, the Dynasphere monowheel could reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Unfortunately, it proved impossible to steer or brake. If a driver attempted to brake too hard, he or she would experience “gerbiling.” In other words, the force of braking would overcome the force of gravity. The driver would cease driving the Dynasphere monowheel and become a part of it, spinning uncontrollably along the inside of the wheel. See this Youtube video from British Pathe to watch the Dynasphere monowheel in action.