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We aren’t fat enough. Yet.

8 October 2009

Congratulations, planet Earth.  The human race is now one step closer to becoming cyborg and one giant leap away from healthy living.  If you thought that cars, scooters and Segways were enough to ensure obesity envelops the world– Think again.

Introducing the Honda U3-X; Personal transportation device.  It’s like a Segway in the sense that it is mechanized and balance-controlled.  The major difference is that this robotic unicycle is both capable of traveling diagonally and can compensate for inadequate human balance.  Check out the video below:

One of the features Honda boasts is that riders are at relative eye level with persons who are standing upright.  Keeping riders at eye level with others is sure to make a big difference in its marketability.  The U3-X’s most commonly mentioned competitor, the Segway, leaves its riders towering above pedestrians on the street which invites some unwanted attention.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, wheelchairs keep users far below eye level.  Though the U3-X can not be immediately used a wheelchair replacement it does open a new realm of possibilities for the future of the disabled.

How does it work?  Within the large ‘unicycle’ wheel are a number of other smaller wheels.  Collectively, they can move forward and back.  Separately, they can move from left to right.  Combining the two functions allows for diagonal movement.

The impractical i-Real by Toyota.

The impractical i-Real by Toyota.

Another personal mobility device, one more likely to be used as a wheelchair replacement, is Toyota’s i-Real.  However, when I look at it I can’t help but think; “Too bad it’s not gold. I could be the Hedonism Bot for Halloween.”  Just fetch me some grapes, an olive branch for my brow, and a submissive bot.

Ballbot, an independently moving robot made mobile by a large coated metalic ball at its base, was invented at Carnegie-Mellon University.  Though this invention was not created to carry a human being, depicted below, but it does become clear that the future of robotics is in transportation and mobility.

Overall, these kinds of technological innovations are impressive.  Though robots and legs aren’t a popular combination as of yet (save ASIMO), our robotics experts are certainly moving in the right direction.

Photo by Michael Goldfein

Ballbot

I can only hope that as robotics become more accessible to the masses that we’ll simultaneously adopt healthier lifestyles.  Looking at the U3-X I can’t help but wonder if Pixar Studios suspected that “Wall-E” could become reality.

On a personal note, even though it could cause laziness to run rampant– it’s pretty cool and I totally want one.

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One Comment
  1. 9 October 2009 310

    I see the predictions of the movie “Wall-E” coming to pass…

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