Computational creativity and the future of AI

Indian student's stunning personal transportation concept


April 4, 2012

Very little is known about this 'single person transport system' concept dreamed up by the...

Very little is known about this 'single person transport system' concept dreamed up by the enigmatically-named product design student Sanu K R from Ernakulam on India's west coast, but one thing is clear: it's a head-turner (Image: Sanu K R)

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Very little is known about this "single person transport system" concept dreamed up by the enigmatically-named product design student Sanu K R from Ernakulam on India's west coast, but one thing is clear: it's a head-turner.

What's obvious is that the vehicle encases a lone passenger inside a transparent bubble, propelled by two wheels either side of the cockpit. The side-by-side arrangement of the wheels means the vehicle would need to be self-balancing, so perhaps its designer envisages fluid- and gyroscope-based sensors like those employed in Segways.

The vehicle seems to be controlled by a small joystick located on the right armrest (strongly reminiscent of electric wheelchair controls), while there appears to be a large, chrome brake lever to the left of the driver's seat. At least one side of the vehicle opens up for access.

We've reached out to Sanu K R to tell us more about the concept. At this point it's unclear to what extent this is a visual portfolio piece, or whether the designer has specific technologies in mind that could, theoretically at least, turn the SPTS (hey, why not?) into a reality.

Source: Sanu K R portfolio, via Yanko Design

Update, April 13 2012: Sanu K R got back to us with a few morsels of information about the design. Make of them what you will. We're told the transportation system relies on the principle of the inverted pendulum. "Gyroscopic sensors and fluid-based leveling sensors are used to detect the shift of weight and the balance of this system, [and] the change in its center of mass," Sanu K R told us.

This is used to establish and maintain a forward or backward velocity. "This transportation system has powered by two electric motors. "It balances with the help of a processing unit, tilt sensors, and gyroscopic sensors," he added. "The servo drive motors rotate the wheels forwards or backwards as needed for balance or propulsion."

Sanu K R additionally confirmed that steering of the vehicle is by means of a joystick. So there you have it.

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James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway

Incorrect. Its not like a Segway at all. Provided the centre of gravity is below the effective centre of rotation it's inherently stable, and the canted wheels actually raise the centre of rotation which makes it more stable than if they were vertical.

4th April, 2012 @ 04:39 am PDT

@winzurf: true, but as the centre of gravity is not much lower than the wheel axis, braking hard would make the passenger compartment to roll over forwards.

I remember both seeing this happen in a old video of a concept vehicle like this one (on some discovery program) and as a kid i had a similar toy.

I believe the segway counters this by tilting backwards, but if you search youtube, you can see examples of what happens if a segway wheel is stopped abruptly for instance by hutting a bump. It looks painful.

4th April, 2012 @ 05:06 am PDT

Transparent canopy = greenhouse. Hope it's air conditioned. And why, with all that transparency, are there two big non-transparent blind spots left and right?

4th April, 2012 @ 08:01 am PDT

Isn't that 'large chrome brake lever' actually a folding armrest, designed to allow access through the door?

4th April, 2012 @ 09:02 am PDT


I have no idea. That is a damn good question. That calls for some design reworking before it should even be considered viable. They ought to do something about the extreme amount of sun that would come in (i.e. a radially opening window system on each door or blocking the light coming in the top out).

Alex Lekander
4th April, 2012 @ 09:08 am PDT

Sanu K R, you stole that idea from Mr. Garrett on South Park!

Jim Parker
4th April, 2012 @ 09:42 am PDT

What's it propelled by, telekinesis? Ah...good wishes, that must be it. Otherwise I see no room for batteries, engines, fuel tanks, fuel know...propulsion?

And what about rainy days? How does one continue to see?

4th April, 2012 @ 10:03 am PDT

This is not particularly original - there have been a heap of "inventors" or "creators" of these things over the years...

This is just this guys version of the same general theme......

These ARE really great machines - provided ALL of your emergency braking distances are substantial.....

Mr Stiffy
4th April, 2012 @ 04:15 pm PDT

old concept but new in a new style...

Mana Leituala
4th April, 2012 @ 05:33 pm PDT

Hardly a new concept. There have been many ideas like this.


Glenn Asquith
4th April, 2012 @ 06:21 pm PDT

The "MOOVIE" by André Costa, from Peugeot Design Contest of 2005 is another example for the same tendency.

However, SPTS ( hey, why not?) was really smart conceived.

Unfortunately, it has not two seats, but until its launch, there is still sufficient time for thinking about this...

4th April, 2012 @ 07:30 pm PDT

Hi SeekMocha,

The non-transparent spots left and right may be for an element of privacy, however one would hope they are tinted so that the driver can still see out.

Hi VoiceofReason,

There are some transparent coatings that provide visibility in multiple raindrop environments, however the propulsion question is yet to be answered.

4th April, 2012 @ 09:33 pm PDT

Brilliant! Until you have to slam on the brakes then it becomes an out of control ping pong ball.

Pete Kratsch
5th April, 2012 @ 12:30 am PDT

It needs a two wheel gyroscope to provide forward/backwards stability, the spinning flywheels could also store power from braking by spinning faster.

5th April, 2012 @ 02:09 am PDT

As a concept I find it kind a cool, though I to have seen similar designs in the past.

But what most concerns me is people inability to think outside the box here. This is after all a site for new technology.

The rainy days problem could for example maybe be solver by NeverWet,

And I can't see any problem with propulsion either. With energy densities probably ten times as high in a not so far of future and super fast charging through supercapacitors,, that would be well enough for the urban application this type of vehicle would be used for.

Patrik Nordberg
5th April, 2012 @ 07:34 am PDT

I applaud the designer's effort but I see more problems that solutions.


-Storage.....where do you put a bag of groceries?

@ Patrik. Most window coatings last MAYBE ten years and are a nightmare to apply to anything but a flat surface. What do you do when it wears off? It will wear off. RainX the surface every two weeks?

5th April, 2012 @ 09:22 am PDT

"not much is known" - reason being: this is nothing but a picture..


5th April, 2012 @ 09:35 am PDT

Ha ha. I love these. Although these guys have a great old school solution to the breaking problem.

5th April, 2012 @ 10:07 am PDT

If that device is all it takes to stop them from riding on top of crowded electrified trains, then good job Sanu.

5th April, 2012 @ 10:21 am PDT

They see me rollin'.

Brandy Kroll
5th April, 2012 @ 10:35 am PDT

Looks like a great idea for a kids fairground ride... that's what it's supposed to be right?

5th April, 2012 @ 10:55 am PDT

Looks like something I saw in a Star Wars movie. But I agree that sudden starts and stops would be an issue with the design as shown.

Larry Hooten
5th April, 2012 @ 11:08 am PDT

Actually, those levers are the propulsion system. The driver cranks them to go.

Brian Hall
5th April, 2012 @ 02:13 pm PDT

I guess anybody with sketchup can get into Gizmag now.

The Hoff
6th April, 2012 @ 08:21 am PDT

I've tweaked the design to overcome the issue of rollover when braking - my version just flies through the air. I'm using the exact same method of propulsion.

Marcus Carr
6th April, 2012 @ 05:22 pm PDT

As a power wheelchair user it reminds me of my wheelchair combined with my sports chair and having a canopy added. Nothing really new here. The wheels could be powered by standard wheelchair motors and two 12 deep recharge batteries. That would give a range of around 70 kms which is about 2/3 of what my chair can go but I'm assuming this would be a little heavier. It would be terrible to use on footpaths as any sports wheelchair user will attest. You generally need great dexterity to use a manual chair on footpaths and it is for that reason that people with full paraplegia like me or the more elderly must use power chairs rather than manual chairs. The braking would be solved by applying the standard braking systems that power wheelchairs use now. That has been around for a long time already and assuming the motors and batteries are right at the bottom of the chair and the seating is low enough the centre of gravity would be such that there wouldn't be the Sedgway type problems with sudden braking.

Still, what's the point? There are very good power wheelchairs around that can go over quite rough terrain such as my chair, have about 100km range on a single charge and cost about $5000 if you get one of the newer ones coming out of China lately. I don't see it as new, innovative or even practical. Stick a raincoat on a wheelchair user and you get the same results.

7th April, 2012 @ 02:25 am PDT

painfully reminds me of the gyroscope-powered monowheel "It."

Bas Van Deursen
12th April, 2012 @ 04:31 am PDT

How many Syrian Hamsters power it ?.

12th April, 2012 @ 05:21 am PDT

No suspension?

Must be slow.

Bit large for the sidewalk....

7th June, 2012 @ 07:47 pm PDT
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