There was an incredible amount of hype surrounding the Segway, being described as a green form of transportation that would revolutionize personal transportation. While both fun and impressive, it was too expensive for the average American and never really lived up to the hype.
Within the field of personal transportation, there are a couple of new devices coming out which are smaller, more efficient, and more affordable than any of there predecessors. Here’s a couple examples of gadgets you could soon be riding around town.
The first device you can soon expect to see whizzing around is the Solowheel. A gentleman named Shane Chen in Washington took the idea of a unicycle tweaked it to make it easier to ride and transport. While it takes a little bit of getting used to and a little coordination, anyone aged 15-70 and under 250 lbs. should be able to get the hang of things in under 30 minutes.
The solowheel itself weights 26 pounds, but comes with a training strap to ease the learning curve. The best feature of the solowheel is that it’s self-balancing using gyro-sensors. Similar to the Segway, you can control the speed by leaning forward or backwards. Experienced users can steer with their feet and achieve max speeds of 12 mph for up to 20 miles.
It’s portable, folding up and with a handle. You can ride it up a 30 degree incline in rough pavement and around obstacles. Here’s a video of the solowheel in action.
Another future mode of transportation is an electric skateboard called the ZBoard. Skateboarding and longboarding has become extremely popular over the last decade, and many Americans have choosen a piece of wood with wheels as their preferred method of transportation.
The ZBoard is stylish and not too bulky or awkward despite having an electric battery. The ZBoard should be pretty popular because the base model can be had for a mere $499. It employs the same popular weight control technology that Segway and Solowheel do; simply lean forward to go and lean back to stop. Rapper Fat Joe would probably have a difficult time getting started on this one.
The Zboard has a need for speed, hitting 15-17 MPH speeds. It’s 40″ long and weighs in at 37 pounds. The company claims that it leaves a carbon footprint equivalent to a 1,500 mpg vehicle. This advanced piece of wood even has a governor for going down hill. Here’s a demo of the ZBoard in action.
While pretty cool, the technology will surely seem primitive in a few years. Future people-pushers are going to be smaller, faster and more affordable than ever imagined. Are there any similar devices you’ve heard of or would like to see introduced to the world?
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