Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
It looks deceptively simple: a stool with a wheel, or an electric unicycle.
But Honda Motor, maker of cars, motorbikes, robots and aircraft, says it embodies state-of-the-art technology and may one day become the smallest means of transport for humans.
I saw the new U3-X at a Honda media launch. It’s shaped like a figure-8 and moves in any direction set by the person sitting on top, by leaning their body back, forth and sideways.
It weighs in at under 22 lb (10 kg), runs about an hour on one charge of its battery at up to about 4 mph (6 kph), about the pace of brisk walk.
The machine uses balance control technology developed in its research efforts on its famous Asimo humanoid robot, Honda told us, but is not ready for sale yet as the company is still developing it.