From Sketch to Product: The Machine Shop is Ready to Help

Almost seven years ago, Gyrowheel was first created at Thayer School of Engineering by Augusta Niles ’07 Th’08, Deborah Sperling ’06 Th’07, Hannah Murnen ’06 Th’07, and Nathan Sigworth ’07. The disk within the Gyrowheel spins independently, creating a gyroscopic precession force to stabilize the bicycle. The idea of self-stabilization for the Gyrowheel helps riders enjoy a safer and quicker learning experience. Gyrobike, featuring the Gyrowheel, has achieved great success in the bike-learning market.


Augusta, one of the team members, recalled how they made their proof of concept prototype at Thayer: “We began with drawings (of the Gyrowheel) and immediately proceeded to the machine shop with these in hand.” Thayer Machine Shop witnessed the birth of Gyrowheel. “All of the machine shop staff were extremely helpful and accommodating to the ENGS 21 student groups,” Augusta commented. The team worked most closely with Kevin Baron, Thayer Machine Shop Manager, and benefited from early bird advice from Kevin to grab resources. The way the team approached the machines in the machine shop might be different from other teams. They asked questions about each machine and explored what those machines could do for their prototypes beyond their need and knowledge. These mysterious machines added a source of inspiration to the team. Among them, Augusta highly recommended the “Sand-Blaster” and she thought it was the coolest machine at Thayer.

Fall 2011 ENGS 21 students are now highly involved in the machine shop activities. We found a group who wants to achieve an idea of an “ABS bike” in the machine shop. It is the first time for most of them to use the machine shop. They like the weekly machine shop skill training sessions and are currently exploring more machines. Any of those groups might become the next “Gyrobike” inventors. The Gyrowheel team says that two key suggestions to the next audacious inventors are start with a simple problem, and make use of what Dartmouth has to offer.

Gyrowheel Team

  • Augusta Niles ’07 Th’08 currently works for Draper Laboratory in Cambridge and is currently applying to dual-degree engineering and business graduate school programs.
  • Deborah Sperling ’06 Th’07 has a graduate degree in clinical research; she is finishing medical school at the University of Michigan and applying to residency programs in urology.
  • Hannah Murnen ’06 Th’07 is a graduate student researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at UC Berkeley in California.
  • Nathan Sigworth ’07 is the founder and CEO of PharmaSecure, a drug authentication technologies and software company.

About Gyrobike

Gyrobike believes in the freedom to ride for all. The company’s bicycle products deliver high stability at low speed to help keep the rider upright. The rider learns correct riding technique and enjoys a safer, easier, and faster learning experience that is more effective than training wheels. While the company’s current focus is providing children’s products, it plans to release larger models designed for all ages and abilities. All Gyrobike products are designed in the United States and come with a one year warranty and a happiness guarantee. Gyrobike was founded in 2007 by Daniella Reichstetter (Tu’07) and its proof-of-concept was developed at Dartmouth College and is protected by U.S. Patent No. 7,314,225 and 7,597,337. Other U.S. and international patents are pending. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif. More information about the company can be found at

This information is provided by Ashleigh Harris, marketing director at Gyrobike.)