Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Self-balancing

The Jyrobike is claimed to be able to teach a child to ride a two-wheeler within one after...

Conventional training wheels might be useful in preventing cuts, breaks and bruises, but they can also lead to bad habits and lengthen the process of learning to ride a bike on your own. The team behind the Jyrobike are looking to give budding cyclists a quicker path to two-wheeled success, with a self-balancing bike that uses a gyroscope to keep kids on the straight and narrow.  Read More

MiP balances on two wheels, using the mobile inverted pendulum principle

You may never be able to afford your own Segway, but soon you'll be able to buy something similar for just a hundred bucks. You won't be able to ride it, but it might ultimately end up being more fun. It's Wowwee's MiP toy robot, which performs a variety of activities while balancing on its two wheels.  Read More

In the next few months, Chris Hoffmann's start-up Ryno Motors begins shipping its self-bal...

Six years ago, Chris Hoffmann's 13-year-old daughter Lauren said, “Daddy, I’ve been thinking about this one-wheeled motorcycle I saw in a video game. Could you actually build something like that?” What happened next changed his life. In the next few months, Chris' new company begins shipping the Ryno, a self-balancing, one-wheeled US$5250 personal mobility device that has caused tidal waves of interest across the globe. This is Chris Hoffmann’s story of what happened in the intervening six years, in his own words, and that's 20-year-old Lauren with daddy's one-wheeled motorcycle.  Read More

The Onewheel

I don't know about you, but I know that when I pop out on my electric skateboard to do a spot of shopping, I always find myself thinking "hello – this would even more exciting with three fewer wheels." Apparently the people at California's Future Motion agree, judging from the Onewheel electric skateboard they've cooked up that is, cunningly named after the number of wheels it has (i.e. one).  Read More

Cubli stays balanced even on a tilted surface

Back in October, we heard about MIT's M-Blocks – they're metal cubes that use internal flywheels to hurl themselves around, sticking together magnetically to form simple structures. Now, scientists from ETH Zurich have unveiled something similar. Their Cubli cubic robot also uses flywheels to move around, plus it can actually balance on one corner.  Read More

The Honda UNI-CUB β has no conventional accelerator, brake or steering mechanism, yet it i...

“It has a top speed of 6 km/h, it balances itself, and you couldn’t crash it if you tried. How can you possibly see that as one of the biggest thrills of your life?” That was the response from an automotive journalist colleague at the Tokyo Motor Show after I eulogized riding Honda’s UNI-CUB β personal mobility device. After a lifetime of journalism covering every form of technology, cars, motorcycles and "boys toys,” from driving and riding exotica worth a decade's wages, this was one the greatest thrills I had experienced – being one of the first to ride a landmark personal transportation device as important as Henry Ford’s Model T.  Read More

The Firefighting Robot is designed to create 3D virtual reality maps of the interiors of b...

“Quick, send in the robots!” Far-fetched as it may sound, fire-fighting robots are indeed coming closer and closer to common use. While some of them are intended to actually put out the flames, others are designed more to scout out structures before human firefighters enter, letting those people know how to safely get around and where to concentrate their efforts. One of the latest machines in the second category is the self-balancing Firefighting Robot (FFR), being developed at the University of California, San Diego.  Read More

The EcoBoomer iGo cruising Beverly Hills

It seems strange to be saying that there’s now another self-balancing electric unicycle on the market, but hey – that’s technology for you. Joining the likes of the eniCycle, Solowheel and SBU, we now have the LED-light-strip-adorned EcoBoomer iGo.  Read More

The range of Yikebikes now ranges from US$2000 to US$4000

With big changes likely in the global transport infrastructure, the race is on to create the missing link – the smallest, lightest man-packable form of motorized transport yet known. Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW and Nissan have all shown vehicles in this area, but none have yet hit the market. The best-of-breed is currently the Yikebike and it announced today that it has further extended its lead, lightening its US$4,000 Carbon model from 11.5 kg to 11.2 kg and extending its range to 15 km (9.3 miles). There's also now a choice of Yikebikes with two cheaper versions at 12.7 kg ($3,000) and 14 kg ($2000).  Read More

The 1967 gyroscopically-stabilized Gyro-X car is being restored by an auto museum

Back in 1967, California-based Gyro Transport Systems built a prototype vehicle known as the Gyro-X. The automobile had just two wheels, one in front and one in the back and, as the car’s name implies, it utilized a built-in gyroscope to remain upright when not moving. Although its developers hoped to take the Gyro-X into production, the company went bankrupt, and the one-and-only specimen of the car became an orphan. For much of the past 40-plus years, that car has passed from owner to owner, its condition deteriorating along the way. Now, it’s about to be restored to its former (weird) glory.  Read More

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