Honda has created a high-tech unicycle, which the firm’s claimed boasts the world’s first drive system with 360° movement. U3-X_02 Honda's U3-X: More than a unicycle and motor? The U3-X, described by Honda as an experimental personal mobility service, apparently fits – or should that be ‘sits’? - comfortably between the rider …
I hope they've got the patents sorted out, because the collection of small wheels forming one large wheel, thus enabling lateral movement without compromising linear grip was originally developed for a robot on robot wars... although I forget which one*
I thought at the time that it was a great idea... nice to see a company doing something clever with it!
Looks like fun too... like a sit down, one wheeled segway!
*I'm glad I can't remember, because I'd be ultra-sad if I could!
A one wheeled Segway?
Seems like a Honda version of the Segway with only one wheel an no bars to hold. Put me down for a couple when they start to sell.
You are of course, aware of the eniCycle?
Soup 'em up and race the buggers.
Here's a video from Honda. Can't you guys at the Reg google this yourselves? Looks fun anyway, but not sure how it would cope with bumps (or stairs).
RE "Robot wars"
"the collection of small wheels forming one large wheel, thus enabling lateral movement without compromising linear grip was originally developed for a robot on robot wars"
No, it wasn't. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecanum_wheel
I want to see
Asimo on a unicycle...
...preferably juggling chickens.
Then we'll know AI has come of age.
I remember the year that Honda thought it would be a good idea to bring Asimo along to the Isle of Man to present a segment of the T.T. races prize giving.
That year was the first time I ever set eyes on a Segway - our sponsor brought his along to the pits, and our rider decided to have a go on it. Before long he was showing off in the car park with the thing set to high performance mode - making the thing do tight high speed turns with serious sideways drift.
El Reg he say: "A collection of small-diameter motorised wheels connected in-line to form a single large-diameter wheel allow the U3-X to make 360° movements, Honda said.".
I'll admit that that isn't up to patent drafting language standards, but it still sounds significantly different to the Mecanum wheel described in the Wikipedia article you cited. The Mecanum wheel has unpowered rollers attached at 45 deg to the bearing surface, so that one can obtain sideways movement by rotating front and back axles in opposite directions. No "small diameter motorised wheels" involved at all.
Unless you meant that the Mecanum wheel was the one used on Robot Wars, I suppose.
UK law needs changing
Typically, because it's a wheeled device and it's like the segway in that's motorised it won't be allowed on UK streets and pavements. Not allowed on pavements because it's motorised, and not allowed on roads because it can't be taxed.
Re "Robot Wars"
As Martin says, the mecanum wheel was developed a little before Robot Wars came about. Plus, the whole rollers-around-the-wheel is passive (the rollers allow side-slip) while Honda's development seems to involve POWERED sideways rollers.
On the whole, this looks extremely cool. Very slick. Also utterly pointless; pretty much anyone could walk faster, powered on nothing more complex than a bowl of cornflakes. Most people who couldn't walk faster would probably crush the device (or be better served by a wheelchair)
I am (almost) certain that I just saw Adam (segway is his preffered method for getting round large, flat spaces) Savage riding a motorised unicycle in the last episode of the latest series aired on Monday or Tuesday this week. (during the bullet dropped vs bullet fired myth)
I admit I'd had a few so it could have been a normal unicycle or something else. I dont recall it looking as nice as the Honda one but I am sure it was motorised in some way and also a unicycle. I remember thinking how cool it looked (not Adam obviously, no matter what devices they use, uber geeks could never really be said to look cool!)
Just what I need.
I was just thinking I needed something completely pointless like this, and bizarrely, someone's made one.
There's a joke in female circles "What do you give a man who has everything? A blowjob for starters." Now there's something else.
The riders don't look relaxed or comfortable.
How sensitive is it to upper body movements - would indicating your intention to turn cause the manoeuvre to be performed? Not for road use, then.
Not something to be used after a few beers...
Twice as revolutionary as the Segway?
Remember how Segway was going to revolutionise urban transport? Is this better or just as pointless?
where's the armour?
All we need to make this the ultimate in tech warfare is to arm and armour it. Then we'll finally have some robotic overloads - oops, overlords - we can respect.
Anyone care to join the World's First Armed and Armoured Monocycle Antiterrorist Patrol - just the thing for places like Afghanistan under US overloadship?
I'd rather have one of these...
Similar to this...
maybe just as pointless for you and me. Surely with the manufacturing clout of Honda behind it they can make it cheaper. And they will figure out if there's a market for it and sell it to the right people, be it old folks or warehouses or airports or whatever, applications where not having to walk round on your pins all day will increase your productivity (admittedly a scooter or bicycle is hard to beat for cost-effective productivity!)
Nice demo vid of the wheel.
But what are the other thingies?
Forget the Asimo and the unicycle - what are the other two? The first one looks like a single leg with tracks at the bottom, which is cool. But the second one - is that a pogo stick? Forget yer Segway - I want my electric robot pogo stick for travelling to work!
@I'd rather have one of these...
So would I - but look at the price.
Not for me
I'm not very image concious, but I don't think I'll be riding around on something that makes it look like I'm caressing my bumcheeks whilst riding around.
The photos are always wrong
The publicity photos of all these kinds of device always show a user who's fit and trim; we all know that the key demographic is idle bunters.
Ceci ne pas une unicycle
This is not a unicycle. By definition a unicycle has only 1 wheel, whereas this has multiple wheels arranged in the shape of a large wheel. I was really interested when I saw the article because the problems of automating riding a unicycle are really difficult (it has been done - but not for public use as far as I know). Unicycles are hard to ride mainly because they can travel in only 1 dimension but must balance in 2 dimensions. As such (unless you are really good) you have to maintain a constant state of imbalance in the controllable dimension, so that you can use the forwards and/or backwards movement to balance in the uncontrollable dimension. It's similar to a bike where you have to be moving forwards to balance sideways.
Because this just balances with a simple 2D movement device the control problem is not really much more difficult than a segway, and a lot more dull than a genuine automated unicycle.