The video: Fancy the mobility of a Segway but don't like standing? Honda's new project, the UNI-Cub, might be right up your alley. At first glance the "personal mobility device" looks like a motorized unicycle — and we've all seen how "easy" it is to ride a unicyle. But Honda says the UNI-Cub is quite nimble, allowing users to maneuver with a large front wheel to control horizontal and forward movement while a smaller rear wheel helps pivot through turns. (Smartphone controls are optional.) The device has a max speed of 3.7 miles per hour, and is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. (Watch a demo below.) Honda hasn't indicated when or even if the UNI-Cub will be available for the public, but the automaker will begin giving demonstrations of the technology in Japan this coming June.
The reaction: "Like the Segway before it, Honda's new UNI-Cub solves a problem that does not exist," says Wayne Cunningham at CNET. It provides able-bodied people a way to "rove around when they could just as well walk." Aside from its "pretty big gee-whiz factor," the UNI-Cub is essentially ushering in a "fat, lazy future" for the first-world elite. Remember Pixar's Wall-E and the large folks who "cruise around on recliners with flat screens while sipping Big Gulps?" says David Wogan at Scientific American. I'll admit that the UNI-Cub could be great for people with injuries or disabilities. But for the rest of us, "it probably does more harm than good in the long run."
Take a look:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- The keys to succeeding with a job recruiter
- The next pandemic
- The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics
Subscribe to the Week