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Tue 20 Oct 2009 06:08 PM

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Advances in how not to walk

Advances in how not to walk
The Honda U3-X allows its owner to sit on a unicycle-like gadget that balances itself, and moves in the direction its rider leans.
Advances in how not to walk
The U3-X has emerged from Honda’s research into walking assisting technologies, which began in 1999. The best known product to emerge from the laboratory is the ASIMO robot, which learns extensively from a human’s ability to maintain balance while walking.
Advances in how not to walk
Honda’s balance and control technology, which allows ASIMO to stand, walk and even run, has been developed even further in the U3-X. The cycle senses shifts in the rider’s body, and adjusts its direction and speed accordingly, just as a human does while walking.
Advances in how not to walk
The wheel is more than just a wheel. It is made up of one large motorised wheel, with several small motorised wheels around its circumference that allow the contraption to move forward, back, sideways and diagonally. The U3-X weighs less than 10 kilos and is powered by a lithium-ion battery.
Advances in how not to walk
The technology in ASIMO and the U3-X could be used in personal transport, but is most likely to first find its way into motorbikes, which would self-correct themselves rather than flip if a rider lost control.