Forget Segway: Honda introduces new UNI-CUB personal mobility device (w/ Video)

May 15, 2012
Honda introduces new UNI-CUB personal mobility device
Image: Honda

Honda Motor today unveiled the new UNI-CUB personal mobility device. Featuring a compact design and comfortable saddle, UNI-CUB offers the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking.

Representing the evolution of the U3-X device that Honda announced in 2009, UNI-CUB features Honda's proprietary technology and the world's first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System). These technologies allow the rider to control speed, move in any direction, turn and stop, all simply by shifting his or her weight. Since the rider can freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, he or she can quickly and easily maneuver among other people.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Moreover, UNI-CUB's compact saddle-style packaging makes it easy for the rider's legs to reach the ground and maintains eye-level height with other pedestrians. This configuration promotes harmony between the rider and others, letting the rider travel freely and comfortably inside facilities and among moving people.

Starting in June 2012, Honda will jointly conduct demonstration testing of UNI-CUB with Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. In addition to testing the feasibility of using UNI-CUB indoors, this project will explore the practical applications of the device in a wide range of environments in Japan and other countries.

The balance control technology of UNI-CUB is part of the Honda Robotics family of technologies, which originates with Honda's research into , including the world-famous ASIMO.


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User comments : 27

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Scottingham
5 / 5 (10) May 15, 2012
Do they make a version for obese people? Seems like they'd use them more.
SoylentGrin
4.3 / 5 (4) May 15, 2012
I want to hack one. Can you imagine 40mph on this thing? First bump at speed, though, and it'd be all over.
that_guy
5 / 5 (7) May 15, 2012
Do they make a version for obese people? Seems like they'd use them more.

If you're that obese, you should walk. Commercially, it is a great idea to have these for obese people. However, ethically, it is not.

My personal opinion, outside of various niches, segway and this are both mostly pointless aside from the design and engineering value/experience of making them.

However, we've started with 4 wheeled wheelchairs, and now we're down to a one wheeled post. I'm looking forward to my no wheeled flying hover seat.
Aryeh_Z
4.8 / 5 (4) May 15, 2012
I don't understand the point to this. It is obviously not a cheap item but does not move a person any faster than walking. So who would use this?
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (3) May 15, 2012
Anyone with a real disability or whose advanced age actually made one of these necessary in order to get around would likely already be too far gone to be able to use it.

Therefore, anyone actually seen on one would be making a silent plea to be removed from the genepool. Early(U.S.) adopters be warned-- users will certainly be targeted by overly aggressive revelers and pack-traveling juveniles, in occasional addition to random adults of more sociopathic bent...

Musashi
5 / 5 (4) May 15, 2012
Naturally great for people with disabilities. The movie just looks silly because they use what are apparently healthy young individuals. Looks totally pointless...
JamesG
3.1 / 5 (7) May 15, 2012
Come on!!! The Segway is classy. This thing is UUGGLYYY!
jselin
not rated yet May 15, 2012
awkward hands are awkward
Deathclock
2.8 / 5 (9) May 15, 2012
I solemnly pledge to knock over the first non-handicapped person I see riding one of these
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (9) May 15, 2012
I don't understand the point to this. It is obviously not a cheap item but does not move a person any faster than walking. So who would use this?


Assholes.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (6) May 15, 2012
An aging Japanese population.

"So who would use this?" - Aryeh
Lex Talonis
1.6 / 5 (7) May 15, 2012
It looks like a giant dildo.....
Terriva
1 / 5 (2) May 15, 2012
Commercially, it is a great idea to have these for obese people. However, ethically, it is not.
If some company makes a money with technology, which is doing people obese and unhealthy, it could participate on the health insurance cost in the same way, like the lazy people, who would use it. On the other hand, there is lotta jobs, where the people are forced to walk around machines or behind the counter whole day and such device could become handy under such a circumstances.
that_guy
5 / 5 (2) May 15, 2012
[If some company makes a money with technology, which is doing people obese and unhealthy, it could participate on the health insurance cost in the same way

Oh, you mean like how Mcdonald's helps pay for health care for its customers and workers.
bredmond
not rated yet May 15, 2012
If you're that obese, you should walk. Commercially, it is a great idea to have these for obese people. However, ethically, it is not.


maybe obese people should not walk all the time, all that weight on their frame may not be good. if they could rest, and then exercise at other time, maybe that would be good for their system. but really i am not sure, just speculating.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) May 15, 2012
Ya, but to you, everything looks like a giant dildo.

"It looks like a giant dildo....." - Terriva
simplicio
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
Naturally great for people with disabilities.

Depends on disability. It is not easy to sit up straight with no support for long period, even if healthy. Electric wheelchair is more comfortable for disabled.

Also like Segway, it is just expensive toy, It must have tiny range and not for outside street travel.
gordonf
not rated yet May 16, 2012
Remember, this is an early model - I can see it as a valuable helper for elderly customers at large shopping centres or at airports. Users need not be disabled, just weaker than other folks. I can see it as useful for visitors to large museums where it would help with the large distances covered in an all-day visit; it also provides a seat for extended viewing of displays. Don't knock it until you try it - then decide.
aroc91
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
Depends on disability. It is not easy to sit up straight with no support for long period, even if healthy. Electric wheelchair is more comfortable for disabled.


My thoughts exactly. No part of this is designed for a disabled person. Between the small slanted seat, the footpegs, the lack of a backrest, no seatbelt, and leaning to control movement, this looks completely disfunctional for that purpose.
gilligan
5 / 5 (3) May 16, 2012
the only potential I see in this is a mobile toilet. now that would be awesome
HydraulicsNath
not rated yet May 16, 2012
the only potential I see in this is a mobile toilet. now that would be awesome


except for the fact that defecating in public while in motion would probably be even more gross than whilst not in motion. Although i must say its a funny idea.
CardacianNeverid
5 / 5 (3) May 16, 2012
the only potential I see in this is a mobile toilet. now that would be awesome -LittleBuddy

Gilligan, you've done it again!
pokerdice1
1 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
This would be awkward when reaching for things. You would have to take care to keep your truck rigid, reducing reach, or learn to account for extra movement while reaching.

The "touch-pad" control may help IF it is an over-riding control, but you would still have an arguable hassle remembering to switch control modes, an (at first) unnatural act to go along with a natural one.
Trewoor
1 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
This is realy pointless. Who on earhth woudl like to sit on a chair all day!
how would disable person (cont walk) sit himself on this!
TrinityComplex
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
I have a friend who has fibromyalgia that could use this to great benefit. He can walk, but it hurts, and normally uses a cane. He can sit just fine, and would probably have no problem using this. There are certain days that it just hurts too much to walk, and this, having a smaller form factor and footprint than a powered wheelchair and offering a better range of movement, would be great for his situation (his opinion, not mine). It might not have a huge market, but there are people who it makes sense for.

Deathclock, while I agree that people are increasingly lazy and ridiculous, said friend does not look handicapped if he isn't walking.
SoylentGrin
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
"It looks like a giant dildo....." - Terriva


Sometimes, a UNI-CUB personal mobility device is just a UNI-CUB personal mobility device.
UberGoober
not rated yet May 21, 2012
Can I just have my lower torso removed and my upper torso attached to this?