Honda’s taken a break from building cars and has developed what looks like some sort of robotic penguin you ride on. Or a motorised toilet seat.
The bizarre-looking UNI-CUB is a ‘personal mobility concept’ designed to offer the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking without having to go through all the hassle of getting off your backside.
The UNI-CUB is related to the U3-X personal mobility concept Honda teased us with back in 2009. It features Honda’s Omni Traction Drive System, which is essentially a wheel (which allows forward and backwards movements) littered with lots of smaller mini wheels mounted in perpendicular fashion, allowing left and right movements.
It allows the rider to move in any direction, including diagonally, simply by shifting their weight.
Honda claims one of the UNI-CUB’s key design features is the fact it allows users to sit quite high up, so they can maintain eye-level with other pedestrians. This “promotes harmony between the rider and others.” Presumably it also allows you to see more clearly who’s making fun of you and your motorised penguin.
The UNI-CUB will be demonstrated from June 2012 until March 2013 at Japan’s National Museum for Emerging Science and Innovation. Staff will use the device to make their their rounds and perform demonstrations with the aim of testing the feasibility of using UNI-CUB without falling off in the wider world.
Honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if this thing were consigned to the ‘wacky concepts that we will never see again’ bin, but who knows — Honda might surprise us. We might wake up one day in our nursing homes only to find the staff and our children zooming around on UNI-CUBS while we wax lyrical about the good old days when everyone used to walk.
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