Why walk when you can have a machine take you anywhere you want to go. With a simple sway of your body from side to side you can turn, rotate in a full circle, or move around on the Uni-Cub. Users can also control the speed and direction from their smartphone or tablet.
Honda’s Uni-Cub device uses two wheels; the front uses what Honda calls an Omni Traction Drive system that goes forward and back and side to side. A smaller rear wheel helps the Uni-Cub turn in place. The device can travel up to speeds of 4 mph in a comfortable seat high enough to maintain eye-level height with other people, but low enough so the rider’s legs can reach the ground.
Kenichi Sueda, Honda’s chief engineer said in a statement, “This UNI-CUB sets your hands free while you’re riding on it and you can always put down your feet to feel safe. Moreover, it offsets shocks when you bump an obstacle or people in crowded places.”
The UNI-CUB measures 520 x 345 x 745 mm and has a seat height of 745 to 825 mm. Power for the motor will come from a lithium-ion battery. The system of Uni-Cub was inspired by robotic technologies developed for Asimo, Honda’s humanoid robot project.
When asked about the UNI-CUB and riding on it, the museum’s director, Mamoru Mohri, a former astronaut with NASA’s space shuttle program, described it as “floaty,” and “like being in zero-gravity,” experience.
The Uni-Cub is the successor to Honda’s previous electric unicycle, the U3-X. Honda plans to begin demonstration testing in June and until March 2013, Honda will be conducting demonstrations testing the UNI-CUB with Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. In addition to testing UNI-CUB indoors, it will explore different environments at which the Uni-Cub can travel.
Watch the Uni-Cub in action with the video below.