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.
That's thanks to an impressive new wheel Honda's developed that's actually constructed from a bunch of much smaller wheels that can rotate perpendicular to the main wheel. The balance is very easy and intuitive -- possibly too much so, as overconfidence can lead to a sideways pratfall, as you see in our video below.
PopSci intern Alessandra Calderin becomes the first person ever to ride the UX-3 in a dress and heels; Mark Jannot is overconfident; graceful Honda dudes show off in Times Square
Probably the most likely nearish-term use of the technology on display here would be to re-purpose the innovative wheels onto conventional wheelchairs, allowing for far greater lateral mobility. For now, Honda's got no plans to bring this (or this) to market, and no guess at what the price would be if and when it did.
Implement this device into robots, or maybe shopping carts, or a furniture mover or a baby stroller/carriage (as long as the volume can be silenced).
looking at the way the guys toes are almost touching the ground I think I want to get one so I can have my ankle broken when it pulls my foot under... yeah! lawsuit
I'd say put it on cars. Its one step closer to the rubber ball like tires on I Robot. Then parking would be a breeze.
Whats that thing with the 2 wheels that you stand on, its been in existance for many many years, that thing scoots, i see security guards scooting up and down at
our local shopping centres quite fast, though it might be misleading, i have no idea how fast they go, but it's definately handy for zipping from one side to the other quick in the mall.
I have long thought that someone should make a wheelchair that lets disabled people be more vertical so they can better approximate standing and walking. This looks very much like my idea.
It seems a little unstable, but I realize this is only a prototype. Myabe a fatter tire would help.
My original idea was to use a ball-drive (like an old pre-optical mouse) with maybe a few stabilizing wheels on an outer ring. Honda's concept is actually more innovative, but maybe less efficient. Still, the thing looks very sleek. I hope someone follows up on this.
"Honda's got no plans to bring this to market" = "I like being the only one with a hover car!"
@JackOfClubs: They have them. I have seen one that transitions from four wheels to two and balances like a Segway. The rider is about 5'6" when in the two wheeled position.
More busytech from the Japanese.
To JackOfClubs and hawley.35:
The creator of segway made the scooter (segway) to finance (get money) for the real application of the technology of self balance (get the idea when hear about the speed of the new processor from intel: the pentium), a wheelchair to allow people to raise and even walk at the same eye level of other people. The wheelchair has 3 wheels in every side, so it can use normal stairs steps when rotating the wheels. So if you want to see the chair google for self balancing wheel chair. He even presented the invention to president Clinton i believe.
Is there a way to favorite this to my page??? (obviously a noob!)
This can have _unlimited_ range simply by using under-floor inductive charging continuously while its operating.
The on-board batteries will only be drained for use when you are not in the inductive-power-transfer-zone of the airport / home / etc where this is intended to function.
(Think of it as airport main-walkways get the new charging-tiles, carpeted concourse-gate-areas don't ... and this would allow for many other robots and powered luggage to operate well also.)
Ideally, broaden this ... make it larger-seated, bigger-wheels and trade that comfort-scaling-up for 1/2 or 3/4 of your battery weight since you likely will only need 10-15 min off of the grid.
they should make it look more like a toilet. that would be fun to have.. a crappercycle
What a great idea for semi handicapped people. When will this be available. I'm a buyer.
Great idea, wrong direction (no pun intended). I invented a wheel VERY similar to this back in 1998. Left that idea behind as i found a better way to do this... SideDriver is coming!