Honda ann0unced an all-new ASIMO robot – faster, lighter, and able to operate more autonomously than previous models (yet managing to preserve the same fascinating/creepy feel).

But what I find even more interesting, buried down near the bottom of the press release, there is a mention of the U3-X, a compact one-wheel-drive mobility device. According to its creator, Shinichiro Kobashi:

“It all started with a single sketch. It was a picture I drew during a brainstorming session on vehicles of the future. I wondered if it would be possible to create a vehicle with a form like this that could move freely in all directions—sort of like a witch’s broom or a magic wand. I thought it would make an interesting project,” he laughs.

I don’t think there’s any other device that actually makes riding a Segway look cool.  The U3-X website has some interesting images and videos – I especially like the one of researches in lab coats having a meeting while riding their U3-X’s, and the women riding them through a museum exhibit.

I do think a device like that has its place, but some of the examples Honda shows are pretty hilarious.

Posted on November 8, 2011
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