Bombardier's concept for a one-wheeled self-balancing motorcycle-like vehicle called the EMBRIO
has been a long time Gizmag favorite. It was envisioned as the type of personal transportation that people might be using 20 years from now. Well, if 21 year-old inventor Ben Gulak has his way, consumers will be able to buy a similar vehicle a lot sooner. His battery electric Uno may look like a regular motorbike at higher speeds, but when it slows down, the wheels realign themselves into a side-by-side configuration – seen in profile, it looks like a unicycle. We caught up with Ben to get the latest news on the project.
A self-balancing unicycle experimental vehicle from Honda to be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show
next month might just be history in the making. Weighing less than 10kg, the 24 by 12 by 6-inch U3-X experimental vehicle runs for an hour, is small enough to be carried onto an airplane as hand luggage, has a wheel which spins in two planes and is set to challenge, perhaps even change, society’s concept of personal mobility.
The eniCycle is the latest entry in the increasingly crowded self-stabilizing electric unicycle market. Developed by Slovenian inventor Aleksander Polutnik, the eniCycle has Segway-like balancing capabilities but only a single wheel. With its three-hour battery and lean-to-go controls, this diminutive one-wheeler prototype brings Jetsons-type technology one step closer to reality.
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.
This hydrogen fuel cell powered, gyroscopically balanced, one-wheeled recreational and commuting vehicle provides an extraordinary vision of the kind of personal transport we could be using 20 years from now.