The Segway was cool, but you have to admit: it’s too big for its own good. Nissan’s new personal mobility prototype works the same way, rolling you along on a set of wheels, together with a few nifty functions, while being considerably smaller.
Created in partnership with Japan’s National Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (AIST), the device runs much like any mobility device, getting you from place to place all on its own (it can go both forwards and backwards). A pair of handlebars are attached to the footboard to help you maintain balance.
It detects weight shift via onboard tilt sensors for turning, so all you have to do is lean over to one side to deviate from the default straight path. Alternatively, it can be split up into two pieces, one for each foot. In this mode, it turns into a pair of motorized stilts, requiring you to physically lift your leg to turn directions . Maximum speed is 5kph.
While the size easily makes it more convenient to tug along than a Segway, it also looks highly unstable. Nissan claims it’s fully self-balancing, though, and should handle passengers without any problems. Well, it better be, since I’d hate to be the old lady tripping over on this thing.
Seriously, though, add a little more power to make it go faster and these stilts would make an excellent summer pastime, like urban skiing or something of the sort. According to Nissan, there are no immediate plans to put the device into production.
[Robonable via Plastic Pals]