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Solowheel self-balancing unicycle is as easy to ride as it is to afford (video)

Jacob Schulman
02.15.11
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If a company makes as bold a statement as "we reinvented the wheel" when introducing a gadget you know we've gotta check 'em out and see what the hubbub's about. Well, at the International Toy Fair in New York, Inventist has introduced its "Solowheel" product, which is essentially a self-balancing unicycle for personal mobility. We've seen similar products before, but the convenient carrying handle and lack of seat make it decidedly more portable than the competition. This $1,500 Segway-esque transporter uses gyroscopes to stay balanced, but places your legs on either side of a single central wheel. It's said to have a max speed of 12 miles per hour and a battery that should last for about 12 miles.

We tried out the interesting device and found it entertaining, albeit quite a bit difficult. Getting started is the hardest part -- especially if you don't have anything to lean against -- but maintaining balance and still trying to lean your body to turn takes quite a bit of practice as well. That's right, there are no physical steering controls whatsoever and instead you use your body weight to control direction and speed. We could barely get going in our brief attempts on the device, but the rep on the floor was more skilled and made us realize we really need to build up our street cred. The whole concept is really a bit wild, and the company envisions people using these to do things like get to the train instead of on a bicycle or in a cab. We're not quite sure your average person is ready to slim down to one wheel in life just yet, but maybe in the future they will be. Still, as a toy it's most definitely intriguing, and you can see our horrid attempts at riding it in the video posted after the break or hit the more coverage link for another video of more skilled riders in action.

Gallery: Solowheel self-balancing unicycle | 12 Photos



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