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Technology

It's a Robot Unicycle! Or a Segway Split in Half? Actually We Don't Know What the Heck This Is

DiscoblogBy Smriti RaoApril 14, 2010 12:24 AM

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Ever wonder what might be the perfect vehicle to get around from point A to point B without getting out of your seat? Introducing Honda's U3-X Personal Mobility Vehicle--a vehicle that looks like a cross between a Segway and an electric wheelchair. Shaped like a figure 8, the device is omni-directional—it can move forwards, backwards, or even sideways. All you have to do is plop yourself on the device's cushioned leather seat and then as PC Mag's Lance Ulanoff describes, some smart tech does the rest:

Since the U3-X balances itself (a trick learned from Honda's ASIMO robot), you can simply hold the handle and roll it along. Its lithium-ion battery holds an hour charge and features a rather unique omni-directional wheel system (called an Omni Traction Drive System) that can roll forward on the full-size wheel or sideways on dozens of little wheels that sit inside the larger wheel. Balancing is provided by accelerometers and sensors that detect the rider's center of gravity and make constant adjustments to keep the U3-X and rider in perfect balance. Riding is simply a matter of leaning, slightly, in the direction you want to go.

It's also a portable fella, weighing 22 pounds, which can be packed up neatly and stowed away in a car or under the desk. But don't expect to see the Personal Mobility Vehicle zipping across offices anytime soon, as it is still in prototype stage and not available in the market. Bloggers, meanwhile, have already jumped on the prototype, pointing out that Ducktales' fans would recognize Honda's offering to be similar to GizmoDuck's armor.

gizmoduck1.jpg

Here's Honda's own, more extensive, and sort of odd, video teaser (which is just begging for some spoof captioning):

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