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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default bicycle wheel of death

    Mythbusters had a Wheel of Death with spinning mirrors, right? I've also seen the thread with links to a patent about a device similar to this (which I can't find now).

    Anyway, I was thinking about how a person might improve on this idea.
    First, you need a wheel. A bicycle wheel should work.
    Next you need reflectors. Oddly enough, bicycle makers already equip bicycle wheels with reflectors.
    Now you need a place to hide it. One of those plastic cargo carriers that mounts on the roof should do the trick.
    Finally you need to spin the wheel. With the wheel mounted horizontally in the cargo box, a small air duct in the front aimed at one side of the wheel should do the trick.

    Now that the wheel is spinning retro-reflective reflectors (one per spoke, perpendicular to the radar beam) a shield should be placed over half the front the wheel.

    My theory is that the (false) return signal from the spinning reflectors would be strong enough compared to the true signal from the car body that it would give a false reading.

  2. #2
    Advanced Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004


    This is probably the thread:

    And here's what I said about it:
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbonzzz
    Actually there is something similar to the "wheel of death" that actually might have worked, or at least come closer to it.
    If they were going to go to all of the trouble to make such a contraption, they should have tried harder to make something that at least had a scientific basis. But unfortunately in this case I don't think they really cared, they just wanted to build something that looked cool for TV. All they succeeded in doing was filling up air time, and busting the "wheel of spinning mirrors myth" that nobody has ever heard of.

    Anyway, the method that might have worked was to construct a wheel of TUNED CORNER REFLECTORS (not MIRRORS!). The idea is that the corner reflectors would return a larger radar footprint than the rest of the car, and they would be spinning in the opposite direction of the vehicle travel making the vehicle appear to be going slower than it actually is.

    Corner reflectors are used on ships etc so that they have a larger radar footprint and are more visible on other ship's radar. They are also used sometimes on aircraft etc.

    Stalker radar even sells corner reflectors:

    This guy has a page describing the technique:

    And someone even holds a patent on the technique:

    Would this actually work? I don't know. Interesting concept though.
    Even if it did, I would think it would have even less of a chance of being practical for our purposes due to size.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Yep. That's it.

    I just figured out that everything needed is already in stock at your local WalMart.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    I thought of a variation on the spinning wheel.

    There are already several spinning wheels on cars. On certain cars (some BMWs, Celicas) the radiator fan is a pusher, and is upstream of the radiator.
    Normally the blades are black plastic, but I don't see why they couldn't be covered in retro-reflective (conspicutity) tape. It would also seem to be an easy step to bolt a Stalker super reflector to one of the fans.

    Of course the fan/reflectors would be mounted upright, but I think they still might work. They should also be more effective if angled down a bit.
    like this---> /

    What I'd really like to see is a video clip of a radar gun getting a speed reading off of a stationary car.



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