Honda's Tumblebug - The UNI-CUB beta
Honda has just introduced their latest tumblebug - or rather, its UNI-CUB beta, a small personal mobility device.
(UNI-CUB beta personal mobility device)
Dubbed ‘UNI-CUB Beta’ it weighs lesser at 25 kg, and uses a lower seating position (lowered to 620 mm). Honda says that the usability level of the concept is higher than before, and the materials used in its construction are enhanced, making the vehicle lighter.
Powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, the vehicle can reach a top speed of 6 kph. The batteries run out after a distance of 6 km (or 1.5 hours usage) when used at a speed of 4 kph. The vehicle is being offered for testing purpose to Japanese businesses and organizations on fee-based lease which will help the company test the feasibility for its mass production.
In his 1940 novella The Roads Must Roll, science fiction Grandmaster Robert Heinlein described this device used by service engineers almost exactly:
Gaines and Harvey mounted tumblebugs, and kept abreast of the Cadet Captain, some twenty-five yards behind the leading wave. It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles, and he felt awkward. A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.
(Read more about Heinlein's tumblebugs)
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