Feasibility of an eddy current difficulty brake on a tricycle. Answered
I'm a biomedical engineering student in Canada, and I'm working with a doctor to develop a training tricycle for children with cerebral palsy. One of the issues we'd like to solve is that since the tricycles are not geared, some children are simply too good at pedalling on flat surfaces and don't get the necessary muscular workout in their legs from pedalling.
We'd like to add some sort of difficulty setting to the rear wheels of the tricycle (the front wheel is occupied by a locking mechanism we designed) to make pedalling a little more challenging for some kids. I considered using a friction system but the idea of adjusting tension in two breaks simultaneously and the frequent pad replacements doesn't appeal to me.
I recently thought of using eddy currents to slow the rear wheels. This would be extremely convenient because we could control the eddy currents in function of the child's strength to give them each a personalised workout.
My questions are :
Do you think it's feasible to use eddy currents to adjust the difficulty of pedalling a tricycle by slowing the rear wheels?
Could an electromagnetic system be used with a sufficiently large battery to allow a child to ride throughout a day?
Would a system with swapable permanent magnets be more efficient (similar to a power tool)?
Would an eddy brake system produce excessive heat that could in turn harm the child?
Thank you for all your help as I'm not an electrical engineer.