Jake Loniak is a college junior; he's also the inventor of one of the most innovative concept vehicles we've seen in ages. Inside: the electric exoskeleton motorcycle and an exclusive video of the beast in action

Skele-Cycle Thirty-six pneumatic muscles control this wearable motorcycle, taking commands from the rider’s body movements. Nick Kaloterakis; design © Jake Loniak at Art Center College of Design; no reproduction or redistribution without prior written consent

The transportation program at the Art Center College of Design has produced legendary car designers, including BMW chief of design Chris Bangle and Henrik Fisker, the creator of the Fisker Karma electric supercar. But this year, after professor Bumsuk Lim’s inaugural motorcycle-design class, the buzz is all about bikes, especially Jake Loniak’s exoskeleton motorcycle concept Deus Ex Machina.

At Ease: Once the bike is parked, the rider can strap it on like a suit.  Nick Kaloterakis; design © Jake Loniak at Art Center College of Design; no reproduction or redistribution without prior written consent
Actually, to call Deus a “motorcycle” is a bit of a stretch. It would stand vertically when parked, so that the rider can step in and strap the bike on like a full-body suit. A computer would interpret the rider’s body movements, translate those into directional commands for the motorcycle, and steer the bike using 36 pneumatic muscles (artificial muscles made by the German company Festo that inflate or deflate to change the direction). “It’s like riding two skateboards at once, but stable, because the machine supports the rider’s body,” Loniak explains. These two skateboards, however, would be powered by lithium-ion batteries and ultracapacitors and capable of hitting 75 mph. “I never envisioned this as a commuter,” he says. “This is a sport bike.”


Deus exists only in a few deceptively realistic computer illustrations, but Loniak is confident that it can be built. “I believe a working prototype could be made, but it would take a great deal of time and engineering,” he says. The basic technology already exists; the Watertown, Massachusetts, start-up A123 is already selling the lithium-ion batteries Loniak wants to use, and a number of companies are developing ultracapacitors for electric cars and hybrids. “This isn’t fantasy,” he says. “It’s a green vehicle, and all of the numbers are based in the real world.”

Video by Jake Loniak.


Cool concept vehicle. Imagine the following unexpected items in the drivers path (assuming the driver is male, and has lost control of the vehicle)

Utility Pole
Road Sign
Parked Car
Fire Hydrant


from Las Vegas, Nevada

I've never seen those things are racetracks.

“I never envisioned this as a commuter,” he says. “This is a sport bike.”

I'm pretty sure most people would stay away from them because of the dangers. Kind of like with regular bikes.

That looks pretty cool. Very futuristic.

Cannot picture anyone riding it though, simply due to the body positioning. Moving between horizontal and vertical depending on speed. Not to say it would not happen though.

Knowledge is not information, it is transformation. ~ Osho ~

So far, looking cool and being electric with fancy pneumatic servos are the only things going for this contraption. By the way, does it come with a body, I mean, an air bag?

None of you ride a motorcycle do you? I would be the first in line to get on of these if they started mass producing them. My only complaint would be that it is not fast enough.

4 out of 5 of you have lost your minds, this is the best thing since the last best thing. I need 2 of them!

I agree with Ogremk3, not just for the men but for all, if you're flying at any speed, and an idiot runs a red light, you're toast.

Cool concept, not practical at all... cool, but worthless


from HazelPark, Michigan

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's kool If I had the money to buy that ahsome bike I would it right now.

I just can't see it, and I love riding motorcycles. Looks like you'd be uncomfortable, it would handle like cr*p, and it would be even less safe than a regular bike. Can you even turn your head to see the back and sides?

Probably wouldn't be too fast -- which is a good thing.

I also don't understand the purpose for the droid cables going into the helmet.

Since when is a 140-180 mph motorcycle practical? It's not, but they're all over the road and will continue to be a part of the riding culture. And the reason is obvious - THEY'RE FUN!

As an avid motorcyclist and 3D artist I find the model very interesting. I have to admit that it does not seem like a practical vehicle with even more limitations than current motorcycles (only one rider) and looks like it will take up as much parking space or more than the average bike; however, I'll take two as well. This is not a vehicle to revolutionize transportation, its to make it a hell of a lot more fun!

Instead of riding a bike you become part of the bike. You have to admit, that has got to be one cool ride! Once again, sign me up. There is one element lacking and that is some form of body armor for the rider. Debris on the road (even pebbles and dirt) at moderate to high speeds can be projectiles. And a little something to lean on (instead of hanging from a harness) would improve the comfort level. You skydivers know what I'm talking about. Kudos to the designer and shame on you critics who see light posts, cacti and road signs as "unforseen objects". I would hate to drive anywhere near you.

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