I still like the Segway, I think, but one cannot help but take notice of this new mode of “transportation” which was unveiled recently in Japan. Honda, which we all know for their cars and the robot Asimo, is the entity behind the unicycle.
Dubbed the U3-X, the unicycle can move up to 6 kilometers per hour – that’s about 3.7 miles per hour.
How does it work? Riders sit on the unicycle and use their weight to steer it in any direction. This is in fact one of the novel things about the U3-X – it is the “world’s first omni-directional driving wheel system.”
The “Hot-Drive” system uses a series of small motor-controlled wheels connected together to form one large wheel.
This main wheel allows a rider to move forward and backward. The smaller wheels allow the device to move from side-to-side. A combination allows the device to move diagonally.
Honda is planning to showcase the U3-X at the Tokyo Motor Show 2009 on October 24, 2009.
If you don’t care much for the technical specs, let it suffice that you can move in any direction you wish to do so – much like moving on your feet. The target market for the unicycle is the elderly, although I can already see people below the age of 50 clamoring for it once it goes into mass production. While I said that I prefer the Segway, I wouldn’t mind having one of these, would you?