Honda UNI-CUB Promises To Do Away With All That Pesky Walking

By Blake Z. Rong | May 15, 2012
Honda is always trying to experiment with getting humans out of their products and onto its other products. How else could you explain a company that builds cars, motorcycles, the HondaJet, and—for professionally supervised landscaping shenanigans—riding lawnmowers? This, more than anything, will explain the gestation of the UNI-CUB, the latest in a long line of strangely-shaped personal mobility devices with noble intentions. Because you can't yet ride an ASIMO like a Star Wars Tauntaun, here is the UNI-CUB—which Honda claims  "offers the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking," while conveniently dispensing with all of that pesky business of walking. Looking like the unholy union between a space heater and one of those inflatable punching bags that never falls over, except with a bicycle seat on top, the UNI-CUB changes direction when the rider leans into it; the rider shifts his weight on the seat to turn, move forward, or bring it to a stop. It's like a butt-controlled Segway. No word on whether making vroom-vroom motorcycle noises causes it to go faster. Honda engineered the unusual UNI-CUB to ensure that its riders maintain a similar level of eye contact with those standing around them. In the world of wheelchair mobility, this is a huge boon. The rider's legs are comfortably tucked away on bicycle-like pedals, and all movement is controlled with the butt. Honda envisions legions of UNI-CUB riders converging at a library, an airport terminal, around the office water cooler discussing last night's Game of Thrones and what television infomercial offers the best place to refill insulin. Like all of Honda's experiments with mobility—such as the precursor to the UNI-CUB, the U3-X—this could have a real advantage with the physically disabled. The press photos, however, still look inadvertently hilarious. With its pristine, white-painted minimalistic shape, the UNI-CUB doesn't look quite ready for the rough-and-tumble world of broken sidewalks, dirt, puddles, and the ridicule of passing hipsters on fixies. Yet Honda engineers are planning to test it outside in a wide range of environments, both within and outside Japan. Of course, we like to imagine that this sort of thing is what passes as commonplace in Japan. What do we know? We still have an affinity for rollerblading. Source: Honda
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bernard bowers
bernard bowers

I read your article on the uni cub. what price will this be after all of your testing? I am handicapped with bad legs and a heart that has 4 attacks. this uni cub would be great for me. A way to get around the house without a wheelchair. please send me info.... thanks. Bernard Bowers, 216 West Beech Road, Sterling,Va. 20164.

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