The Segway first raised eyebrows by balancing its rider on two side-by-side wheels. Since then, we've also seen scooters where you balance on a single wheel. Well, the Üo does things a little differently yet. It perches its rider on top of a rolling rubber ball.
Designed by German electrical engineer Olaf Winkler, the Üo does actually incorporate three motorized "omni wheels" – although none of them touch the ground. Instead they press in against the top of the ball, causing it to move in response to feedback from onboard accelerometers and gyroscopes.
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In this way, the ball is always kept under the rider's center of gravity, keeping them from falling over. As with a Segway, accelerating and braking are achieved simply by leaning forward or back, while turns can be made by leaning to either side. A small joystick in the top of its telescoping steering stick is used to pivot.
There's no word on battery life, although the top speed is a claimed 12 km/h (7.5 mph), with Winkler likening the riding experience to skating, skiing, or floating.
He's recently taken to Kickstarter to finance production of the Üo, where a pledge of €899 (about US$955) will get you one – if all goes according to plans, that is. The estimated retail price is €1,399 ($1,485).
It can be seen in action, in the video below.