— Urban Transport
Striking a balance: Honda unveils UNI-CUB mobility device
Honda's UNI-CUB Personal Mobility Device
Honda has released details of a new personal mobility device dubbed the UNI-CUB. An evolution of the U3-X unicycle EV that has been shown globally since the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, the UNI-CUB employs the same impressive balance control technology and omni-directional wheel as its predecessor, with the biggest differences appearing to be the addition of an extra wheel, a comfier perch and optional user control via a mobile phone or tablet.
Like the U3-X, the UNI-CUB allows the user to move in any direction, control speed and stop by simply shifting their weight, while the second wheel moves laterally to accommodate turning. The device can also climb gradients, has a range of 6 km (3.7 miles) and, while it's not going to keep pace with power-walkers, can reach a top speed of 6 km/h (3.7 mph).
The compact form factor and the orientation of the rider also seems to give the UNI-CUB an advantage in the emerging field of "transport appliances." A Segway, for example, tends to clear the decks fairly quickly in a pedestrian space, but the UNI-CUB is designed as an unobtrusive addition to foot traffic that maintains eye-level height and works in harmony with other pedestrians.
Honda says it will begin demonstration testing of UNI-CUB with Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation from June with a view to exploring applications for the device.
UNI-CUB key specifications
- Size (L x W x H): 520 x 345 x 745 mm (20.5 x 13.6 x 29.3 inches)
- Seat height: 745 - 825 mm (29.3 - 32.5 inches)
- Battery type: Lithium-ion battery
- Maximum speed: 6 km/h (3.7 mph)
- Range: 6 km (3.7 miles)
About the Author
After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.
All articles by Noel McKeegan
Gosh, I really don't know what to think about it. Maybe because they photorgaphed it in office space (I read many articles how sitting is bad for people). Maybe it will be helpful for people having troubles with walking. But those who are healthy should use their legs.
On first glance I think I prefer it in its previous incarnation as the U-3X - which seems neater and lighter. Perhaps there were issues with strength and durability. Nevertheless weight will be important in such 'vehicles' and this looks quite a bit heavier and more cumbersome.
That said, I like it. One day these will be available at the entrance to all shopping centres...and how nice if we could have them at airports for those interminable walks to and from the boarding gates! I wonder if one could push a trolley while riding one. No doubt the airport people would install poles or barriers to ensure one couldn't ride them down escalators...or even take them though passport control!
Keep up the good work Honda - this is definitely a winning concept.
Great to see technology being pushed along but a vehicle that is intended to replace walking! Really?
Replacing cars or a slower vehicle that can replace scooters all make sense. This thing doesn't. Maybe there is an application for fit but disabled people.
Paul van Dinther
Let's not forget that walking is not always an option to everyone, including the physically fit.
whats wrong with riding it down stairs on an escalator?
There are many who can not walk with any ease and a trolly could be towed behind if it was not too heavy.
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