Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Reuters reports that a bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard designed to be manufactured at about $9 to $12 per unit that would be sold for about $20 has the potential to change transportation habits from the world's most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa. "In six months we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organization wants to build with our technology for Africa," says Nimrod Elmish. The bicycles are not only very cheap to make, but at 20 pounds they are very light and do not need to be adjusted or repaired, the solid tires that are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires will never get a puncture. "These bikes need no maintenance and no adjustment, a car timing belt is used instead of a chain, and the tires do not need inflating and can last for 10 years," says Elmish adding that the bicycles will be so cheap, it hardly matters how long they last. "So you buy one, use it for a year and then you can buy another one, and if it breaks, you can take it back to the factory and recycle it." Cardboard, made of wood pulp, was invented in the 19th century as sturdy packaging for carrying other more valuable objects, it has rarely been considered as raw material for things usually made of much stronger materials, such as metal. Inventor Izhar Gafni spent years figuring out how to make cardboard strong enough to support a human. The trick was bending and gluing the cardboard in such a way that it becomes strong like a piece of wood. In a video, Gafni describes the process as a type of origami, and demonstrates how his cardboard is strong enough to support a car. As in crafting origami and tearing telephone books, Gafni explains, “[if] you fold it once, and it’s not just twice the strength, it’s three times the strength.”"
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