Never Walk Anywhere Again!

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I know that this Uni-Cub personal mobility device could be a great solution for the elderly or disabled, but for the life of me I can’t get this out of my mind:

The Uni-Cub moves forward, back, side-to-side, and even diagonally by responding to shifts in the driver’s weight, or with an optional remote control. The balancing tech is derived from the ASIMO robot. It’s an interesting next step from the Segway, and a potentially more useful one, since those with mobility issues can use it. It has a smaller footprint than most wheelchairs or scooters, and appears to keep the user up a bit higher, which is always nice.

But for a healthy person just tooling around the office or the city? Seriously? Don’t we have legs for that?

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • victor

    Heh. That is totally the deck chairs on the Axiom. Only it doesn’t really look all that comfortable. And to be honest, it reminds me a lot of those people who put a toilet on a lawnmower chassis and ride around on them. (And Honda should consider that a feature request!)

  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

    no freaking handles?

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    I know, it’s kind of like a Segway unicycle, which, you know… not that brilliant an idea. I’m honestly not sure how a device that’s controlled by delicate weight-shifting and balance is going to work with the elderly and handicapped.

  • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

    The “omni-drive” mechanism is delightfully elegant.

    I’m not sure if the video is a proof-of-concept, or an ad. If it’s an ad, it doesn’t exactly seem to be targeting the disabled. I’m especially wondering if the balancing effect can be calibrated for people who have lost limbs.

  • lethargic

    As the spouse and sole caregiver for a physically handicapped stroke patient, I can say with authority that this looks cool, but needs a lot of work before the disabled/elderly could use it. As shown, it requires a great deal of trunk and leg strength to sit upon it, especially during movement. More strength than you able-bodied realize. And do I infer steering with balance? More stability problems for the disabled. It will be feasible when it has the rider-stability features of, say, a Hoveround type device. Maybe I lack imagination, but it looks like making it stable enough will destroy the cool innovative balance concept … as usual, in my experience, what seems like a good idea just doesn’t work for the disabled in real life.

  • kenneth

    Not even many able-bodied folks would be able to hack that thing for hours at at time unless they do a lot of ab work/pilates type stuff. Rather than just deriving control components from that robot they mentioned, they really just need to go the full step and develop the robots with the capability of those dudes in “I Robot”. That’s what our aging and elderly really need (in addition to our drug-besotted celebrities who shouldn’t be allowed to drive themselves anywhere, anytime).


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