The granola girls over at Autoblog Green
had the rare opportunity to test out the quirky little U3-X
on a visit to the Honda R&D center in Japan. You remember: the self-balancing unicycle that fits in a car door
and relies on an inclinometer (not gyroscope) to know which way is up. In essence it balances the rider like a broomstick held on-end in the palm of the end. Autoblog calls it "far more intriguing than a Segway" due largely to the Honda Omni Traction (HOT) drive system that allows the personal transporter to move forward, back, and left and right on a series of small wheels. Unfortunately, Honda wouldn't let anyone peek underneath to see the magic. When turned on the U3-X stands upright making small motions to maintain balance. And as awkward as it looks, riding the U3-X "couldn't be easier" -- like a Segway you just lean ever so subtly in the direction you want to go. It will tip over if the rider leans too far or too fast but it's apparently very simple and intuitive to keep upright. The 20-pound model tested was designed for indoor use only and booked along at an overdue-toilet-break pace of 4MPH. Check it out in the video after the break.
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