Having dealt with all the things you are not getting for Christmas this year
, it's time to turn our attention to what Santa's elves have really been hammering away at. So from consumer favorites to clever innovations to quirky surprises, here's our selection of the top 10 things you CAN have for Christmas 2012.
Inner city congestion, rising parking charges, pedestrian-only zones and other measures to persuade folks to leave the car at home can seem a little at odds with the increasing pace of our busy working lives. Getting the train to work is all well and good but if the office is quite a distance from the station, then workers are faced with hopping on more public transport or taking along a portable personal vehicle like a folding bicycle, mini scooter or unicycle. If you want to avoid having to hit the showers before sitting at your desk, then motorized versions of most are now available. Regular readers will already know that we're quite fond of the electric unicycle, particularly when it's combined with self-balancing mechanisms. One of the first to be featured was the SBU
from Focus Designs, the third version of which has just been released.
Two things are certain in this crazy world - unicycles are cool and unicycles are seriously hard to ride. Well no longer. Now anybody can clown about on a unicycle and what's more, you don't even have to pedal. Thanks to Focus Designs and several years of development the learning curve required to master the unicycle has been reduced from several weeks to an average of 20 minutes, making it a viable and incredibly cheap-to-run personal transport.
While the unicycle could never be accused of being the most practical form of transport, one or two designs that have emerged in recent years (like the Unomoto
and Bombadier's Embrio concept
) have identified the potential of combining self-balancing technology with a format that is, well, inherently unbalanced. Known as the electric self-balancing unicycle or SBU, this new incarnation from Focus Designs makes the challenge 50% easier by incorporating a system of accelerometers and gyroscopes to control the forward and backward balance, leaving the rider to concentrate mainly on sideways movement. The other big difference from the traditional design is that there are no pedals or crank arms, just footrests to help balance while you glide along at up to 8mph while controlling speed by leaning forward and backwards.