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Honda unveils UNI-CUB personal mobility device

by Drew Johnson

Honda has unveiled its latest mobility concept.

Although Honda is best-known for building cars and motorcycles, the company also dabbles in a number of side projects, including the Asimo robot and Honda Jet. That project list expanded by one on Tuesday as the Japanese automaker has unveiled its latest personal mobility device.

Building on the company's U3-X concept, the UNI-CUB is Honda's latest take on personal mobility. The UNI-CUB can most easily be described as a bar stool on wheels, or rather wheel, but the device is far more advanced than any seat at your local watering hole.

Thanks to technology borrowed from the Asimo robot, the UNI-CUB features the world's first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System). In a nutshell, the technology allows the rider to control speed, move in any direction, turn and stop, all simply by shifting his or her weight. However, if the weight direction control is just too much for a rider, the device can also be controlled by a touch panel control via a smartphone or other device.

As a result, the UNI-CUB is well suited for most pedestrian environments, helped by the fact that the device's height puts the rider at eye level with those traveling on foot.

The UNI-CUB is limited to surfaces with a gradient of five degrees or lower, but the device's 3.7 mile range means you could conceivably use it for an entire work day. The UNI-CUB's merits as a daily mobility devices will be tested during a 10 month evaluation with Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

Honda has no official plans to put the UNI-CUB into production, but the device could just be a glimpse at the future of personal mobility.