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Honda to show smaller, lighter UNI-CUB Personal Mobility Device

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November 14, 2013

The UNI-CUB β and the UNI-CUB. The family was first seen four years ago at the Tokyo Motor Show as the U3-X. The U3-X was significantly developed to become the UNI-CUB (pictured right) in May 2012 featuring the same balance control technology and Honda Omni Traction Drive System which originated from Honda's three-decade-old research into humanoid robots. The UNI-CUB β (left) is the third generation.

The UNI-CUB β and the UNI-CUB. The family was first seen four years ago at the Tokyo Motor Show as the U3-X. The U3-X was significantly developed to become the UNI-CUB (pictured right) in May 2012 featuring the same balance control technology and Honda Omni Traction Drive System which originated from Honda's three-decade-old research into humanoid robots. The UNI-CUB β (left) is the third generation.

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Honda has announced that yet another version of the UNI-CUB personal mobility device will be shown at next week's Tokyo Motor Show. The UNI-CUB β is smaller, lighter, lower and can be used as a seat, making it a potential alternative to the office chair.

First seen four years ago at the Tokyo Motor Show as the U3-X, the remarkable personal mobility device was developed to become the UNI-CUB in May 2012. It features balance control technology and the Honda Omni Traction Drive System which has been developed by Honda over three-decades of research into humanoid robots.

For the last year, Honda has been showing the UNI-CUB at shows around the globe, at the same time as testing the vehicle jointly with the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), where it has been used by staff and visitors to the museum.

The UNI-CUB β was developed using data and user feedback from the Miraikan testing program. Apparently the next step for Honda will be offering the UNI-CUB β for a variety of uses by other businesses and organizations through a fee-based leasing program.

The U3-X, UNI-CUB and now the UNI-CUB β are all steered by movements in the user's body weight and thanks to Honda's clever omni-directional wheel, it enables seamless movement in any direction.

The UNI-CUB β will not just be on show at the Tokyo Motor Show, it will also be offered to the press for testing, so watch out for a ride report around a week from now.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
5 Comments

I can imagine 'swarms' of these running about all over offices or small factories - anywhere it could save employees' time between desk and information storage stacks, quicker in-shop mail or other delivery etc.

The Skud

The project is interesting, one of its strengths is that it can be transported in a car door. I do not like the absence of a handle to hold on while traveling.

Germano Pecoraro

what!? why can;t people just WALK? wle

Larry English

Potential for power wheelchairs or scooters for those unable to walk is being overlooked. I keep seeing new ways for those that need more mobility to move less.

Layne Nelson

Layne, you are so right!

I've just been designing wheelchair-accessible space, with its 5' turning areas and 3' doorways, and learning the zillions of impediments to indoor movement with a wheelchair that need to be avoided.

This thing is two ticks away (upper-body and arm support, both of which could come from a back "spine" like an office chair, and better foot security) from being completely transformational, absolutely life-changing for the wheelchair-bound. It also seems like it'd be easier, or at least more intuitive, to use than the hand controls on a standard motorized wheelchair.

If everyone with mobility issues had one of these instead of a wheelchair, accessible design would be reduced to just a few items.

westomoon
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