We're still nursing our tired legs and typing fingers after the behemoth that was the Frankfurt Motor Show
, but unsurprisingly news from next month's Tokyo Show
has started to trickle in and one of the first confirmed debuts is an unusual 'personal mobility device' from Honda.
The 'U3-X' name is about as sci-fi as the device itself, which appears to be a smart new type of unicycle. Clarifying that, it has a single wheel, though you don't actually have to do any pedalling. And further explanation is needed when it comes to the wheel, as it's rather special in itself. It's apparently the 'world's first omni-directional driving wheel system' called the Honda Omni Traction Drive System - or HOT Drive System for those of us not looking to boost our word counts...
Cynicism aside, it sounds very clever, allowing movement in any direction at all, though how that's controlled by the rider we're not so sure. Allegedly it's by shifting their own body weight, which sounds like a can of troublesome worms waiting to be opened. Anyone remember President Bush falling off the supposedly un-fall-off-able Segway?
Unlike the Segway and its ilk the U3-X features a sitting position that puts the rider at the same eye level as regular pedestrians, so it's intended not to be as intrusive to other pavement users.
Power comes from a lithium ion battery and an hour of riding is available on a single charge. Amazingly the whole thing only weighs 10kg.
We'll be daring our man Kyle to have a go in Tokyo next month...
Shane O' Donoghue - 24 Sep 2009