Two Wheels Are Good, But What About 1.5?
As I peruse different concept and technology sites in my search for cool motorcycle innovations, things catch my attention and I like to share them with folks of similar interests. Sometimes innovative and creative designs leave me wondering “How did I ever live without this?” Then there’s the rest of the time when I have to wonder “What the Hell were they thinking?” For me, the UNI-CUB by Honda and Halbo from BMW each fit into one of the categories and are certainly interesting enough to share.
Continue reading for more information about these innovative two-wheeled creations.
First off, I want to take a look at the less-scary option. According to Honda, "The Honda UNI-CUB display enables CES attendees to experience a self-balancing personal mobility device that enables the seated rider to control speed, move in any direction and stop, all by simply shifting body weight. Earlier this year, the company opened the UNI-CUB’s API seeking to facilitate the creation of software that can control the device from a smartphone and other devices, which would provide the potential to expand its value and functionality for people. This expands upon the UNI-CUB’s original system, which currently allows the seated rider to control speed, move in any direction and stop, all by simply shifting body weight. With the ability to freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, UNI-CUB can quickly and easily maneuver among people."
Right. So what we have here is essentially a seated Segway that can provide 360-degree mobility. Honda is currently running a ten-day demo program at the Haneda Airport beginning Friday, January 13th. Friday the 13th guys? Really? As neat as lazy airport navigation might seem on paper, I can’t help but remember the walking culture I witnessed while I was in Paris, and wonder if it could apply to more general, pedestrian augmentation in a more open environment. I also wonder about possible applications in the handicap-mobility sector to give chair-bound persons a hands-free alternative to the current status quo. Good stuff, Honda.
Next, we have a ride that definitely falls into the “why?!” category. Designed by Pierre Yohanes Lubis for BMW, the “Halb Organismus.” Unlike the UNI-CUB, this ain’t no sidewalk/corridor-friendly machine, but something for folks yet unaware of their own mortality. An electric motor powers the front wheel with a small, spherical tail wheel to keep it from flipping backwards, much like a chicken toe or cowboy spurs keep their owners upright. The thing steers via the articulated rear member much like a forklift or a boat, a fact that does nothing to improve my confidence in being able to survive a trip on one. Anyone who has ever driven a forklift knows what I’m talking about! Perhaps this is why we haven’t heard anything about it recently, who knows, but I can tell you one thing for sure; you couldn’t load me in a cannon and shoot me onto the road with this thing under me, not even on a bet.