At a Tokyo press event, Honda showed off its single-rider, hands-free personal mobility device, the Uni-cub. The Uni-Cub can move in every direction just by shifting your weight, including rotating in place, and is about the height of a chair, so you can put your feet on the ground at any time. One of the biggest advantages is that your hands are free, so you can hold a sign that says, “I believe I’m more awesome than you”. According to the reporter in the clip below, there’s absolutely no feeling like you’re going to fall off. When she asks one of the developers why the Uni-Cub doesn’t fall over, he explains that it senses which direction you start to tip, and it “catches up” with you just enough, just like when you try to balance a broom on the palm of your hand.
Honda said that it will now start testing the device for practical applications (i.e., everyday use for regular folks). This stage of testing will go until March of next year. (Perhaps this stage could also be called the “dummy-proofing for consumers” stage of development.) The top speed is about 4 mph, or 6 km/h, and can also be operated by a touch panel device, such as a smartphone. At the current press event, the developers demonstrated the device, while explaining and also giving opportunities to the press to try it out. Thankfully no one was run over, though surely everyone had to sign a release from grievous injury. Looks very comfy, and the graphic of the wheel-thingies is a bit mind-bending! Check out the vids! (I wonder if it zooms up to you when you call for it like in the promo…)
News spot – in Japanese but interesting to see the reporter’s experience: