Honda develops motorised unicycle
With dual bum cheeks...
Honda has created a high-tech unicycle, which the firm’s claimed boasts the world’s first drive system with 360° movement.
Honda's U3-X: More than a unicycle and motor?
The U3-X, described by Honda as an experimental personal mobility service, apparently fits – or should that be ‘sits’? - comfortably between the rider’s legs to provide 360° motorised movement.
To adjust the U3-X’s speed or direction, all the user has to do is shift their upper bodyweight – a movement style that sounds somewhat like wearing a Hoola Hoop around your waist.
A collection of small-diameter motorised wheels connected in-line to form a single large-diameter wheel allow the U3-X to make 360° movements, Honda said.
The small wheels control side-to-side movements, while the large wheel controls forward and back motions. A combination of both allows the U3-X to move diagonally, Honda added.
Sway left to move left, sway right to...you get the idea
Perhaps the second-generation U3-X will feature a third set of wheels – and some powerful thrusters – to enable vertical movements?
Many of the U3-X’s capabilities are based on technologies used inside everyone’s favourite orchestra-conducting, stair-walking and thought-controlled android – Honda’s Asimo.
When atop the 315 x 160 x 650mm U3-X, the rider is apparently at “roughly” the same eye level as pedestrians. The seat, footrests and body cover all fold away into the device’s 10kg body, Honda mentioned.
The U3-X is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which is good for 60 minutes worth of travel - Honda claimed.
Honda used tech from Asimo (far right) to build the U3-X
Honda hasn’t announced any plans to produce the U3-X on a commercial scale, but admitted that it’s currently testing the device in “real-world situations” to “confirm the practicality of the technology”. Read into that what you will. ®
Ceci ne pas une unicycle
This is not a unicycle. By definition a unicycle has only 1 wheel, whereas this has multiple wheels arranged in the shape of a large wheel. I was really interested when I saw the article because the problems of automating riding a unicycle are really difficult (it has been done - but not for public use as far as I know). Unicycles are hard to ride mainly because they can travel in only 1 dimension but must balance in 2 dimensions. As such (unless you are really good) you have to maintain a constant state of imbalance in the controllable dimension, so that you can use the forwards and/or backwards movement to balance in the uncontrollable dimension. It's similar to a bike where you have to be moving forwards to balance sideways.
Because this just balances with a simple 2D movement device the control problem is not really much more difficult than a segway, and a lot more dull than a genuine automated unicycle.
The photos are always wrong
The publicity photos of all these kinds of device always show a user who's fit and trim; we all know that the key demographic is idle bunters.
Not for me
I'm not very image concious, but I don't think I'll be riding around on something that makes it look like I'm caressing my bumcheeks whilst riding around.
But what are the other thingies?
Forget the Asimo and the unicycle - what are the other two? The first one looks like a single leg with tracks at the bottom, which is cool. But the second one - is that a pogo stick? Forget yer Segway - I want my electric robot pogo stick for travelling to work!
@I'd rather have one of these...
So would I - but look at the price.