Apr 16, 2010

honda u3-xWhat you are going to see is an ABSOLUTE AWESOME INVENTION! Pushing the limits of technology. It only has one wheel, but Honda's futuristic

personal mobility device is no pedal-pusher. The flag bearer of future technology “HONDA” has invented something  which can be called as “OUT OF THE BOX”
This uni-cycle is called the U3-X»,no pedal pusher.The unicycle of the future moves as you move, wheeling you to your destination simply by sensing your body tilting this way or that, Segway style.

Now, in lay-man terms, as the name suggest this cycle has only one specially designed wheel. Unlike the other cycles you won't find any pedal to move the cycle. So what's the way to move it?
It’s the POSTURE. Just lean on to that direction to which you want to make a move. Yes, just a simple almost a 2-3 degree lean(not bend). The U3-X(as the Honda call’s it) is fitted with a inclinometer, which record’s you inclination and makes a move depending on that.

U3-X in action!
Let us explore the technical side of it.

honda u3-x
The U3-X uses a balance control system that derives from Honda's research on human walking dynamics for its famed ASIMO bipedal humanoid robot.
When the rider leans his or her body, an angle tilt sensor sends data to the balance control system, which in turns moves the wheel, maintaining balance.
But the amazing thing about the U3-X is not quite visible: its omni-directional wheel.
The wheel consists of a ring of small rubber wheels overlapping a single large wheel (see illustration below). When the large wheel rotates, the U3-X moves forward or backward. When the small wheels rotate, the machine moves left or right. And when both the large and small wheels turn at the same time, the U3-X moves diagonally. Honda showed us animations but didn't let us take photos of the wheel itself. It's a really ingenious system that uses only two motors to accomplish all of its movement.

So how fast can it go? Its has a top speed of 6 kilometers per hour, which is a little better than the average walking speed» of an adult, and the lithium-ion battery will let you ride around for an hour. The machine weighs less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and max rider weight is currently 100 kg (220 lb).
Because it's such a narrow device, no wider than the distance between your legs, it won't get in the way of other pedestrians or riders on crowded streets on in an office environment, Kobashi explained.

Technical details from IEEE»