A baby transporter for mobility-impaired children would ensure confidence, independence and proper cognitive development, researchers say. So they recommend babies start driving around on sonar-equipped robots.
At a rehabilitation conference in Las Vegas, researchers at Ithaca College described attaching a child seat to a Wii Fit balance board and mounting the whole setup on a Pioneer 3 robot. Like an infant Segway, it moves in whatever direction the baby leans, and built-in sonar helps avoid collisions.
I'm just back from a midtown Manhattan hotel meeting room, where I rode Honda's U3-X "Personal Mobility Prototype." It's a nifty little device: essentially a sit-down Segway unicycle that looks like a figure-8-shaped boombox, with a pop-out seat and footrests.
The machine balances itself, with or without a rider. You move and steer by leaning where you want to go, forward, backward, and -- in a unique twist -- side to side.