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Move over Segway, Honda introduces the Uni-Cub

May 15, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • Honda's new Uni-Cub is a personal mobility device.
Honda's new Uni-Cub is a personal mobility device. (Honda )

The people mover has gotten an upgrade: On Tuesday, Honda announced its new Uni-Cub, a personal mobility device that lets you glide around the office or the aquarium perched comfortably on what looks like a trash compactor on wheels.

Like the Segway, the Uni-Cub allows the rider to control it simply by shifting her weight forward, backward or side to side.

Unlike the Segway, it is small enough to be used indoors.

A promotional video for the Uni-Cub shows thin attractive people using it to glide down office hallways, and in and out of elevators.

It looks very elegant, but one wonders why these thin attractive people need a mobility device in the first place.

Another prize point for Honda -- when sitting on a Uni-Cub the rider is just below eye level of most pedestrians and just above eye level of someone seated on a normal chair.

"This configuration promotes harmony between the rider and others, letting the rider travel freely and comfortably inside facilities among moving people," the company said in a news release.

The Uni-Cub is not on the market yet, but Honda said in June it will start testing the device at Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

It is powered by a lithium-ion battery and has a maximum speed of about 4 miles an hour.

The Uni-Cub also has a nifty wheel design -- Honda calls it the Honda Omni Traction Drive System -- that allows the device to move forward and side to side with a small two-wheel configuration.

As you can see in the video above, the rider and the device are not much wider than a person would be walking.

The question, of course, is who would want such a thing. Because there is no seat back, the Uni-Cub does not seem to be a replacement for the mobility scooters you see older people using in grocery stores and in Las Vegas. 

And recent news on obesity makes it pretty clear that we should all be walking more, rather than less.

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