Want the convenience of a Segway without the arduous task of standing up? Honda’s Uni-Cub is your solution. Behold the future of personal mobility devices in a self-balancing, battery-powered mobile stool that could make walking a thing of the past. One anonymous reviewer called it “a bar stool with two wheels.’’
Honda’s Uni-Cub, which is still in development, will be used mostly to get around indoor spaces such as offices, airports, and museums. It is compact, features an adjustable saddle-style seat, and uses an omni-directional driving system for movements similar to walking. According to Honda, it’s easier and faster than walking, hitting speeds of up to 5 miles per hour, compared to the average walking speed of 3.1 miles per hour. And, unlike other personal mobility devices, it leaves your hands free (That sure puts a new spin on texting and driving!).
To drive, simply lean in the direction you want to go. If that requires too much movement (we know, it took a lot to sit down), there is a touch panel control option too. There are two rests for your feet, but no handles, so make sure to perfect your balance before you drive off (and, um, you may want to think twice before writing that text).
There’s a removable lithium-ion battery that lasts for 90 minutes, perfect for a short trip in between charge-ups. The base also has a computer and a bunch of sensors. There’s one big wheel, which moves the device back and forth, and one small wheel. Along the length of the big wheel, there are a series of smaller wheels that, when a person leans to either side, moves left or right. The back wheel is for stability, and allows the rider to rotate in all directions.
While it will be mostly used indoors, the lightweight contraption could easily be used on the streets. Even better, it’s apparently fine if you run into someone — the Uni-Cub is compact enough that it won’t do any severe damage, the company says. Super! But, since simply touching your feet to the ground stops the device, this would only happen if you were wearing a blindfold (or, more likely, writing that dang text).
Though Honda is still working out the kinks, there’s been talk that the Uni-Cub could be the future of urban travel. Can you imagine Bostonians navigating the cobblestone streets of Faneuil Hall in one of these babies?