Bicycles

Poimo: An inflatable ebike that fits in a backpack

Poimo: An inflatable ebike tha...
The Poimo portable ebike prototype currently needs an external air compressor, but a production model would have that built in
The Poimo portable ebike prototype currently needs an external air compressor, but a production model would have that built in
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The Poimo portable ebike prototype currently needs an external air compressor, but a production model would have that built in
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The Poimo portable ebike prototype currently needs an external air compressor, but a production model would have that built in

We've seen our share of portable ebikes, but this adorable little cutie takes things to the next level. Presented at this year's ACM CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing, Poimo (POrtable and Inflatable MObility) is an inflatable ebike that fits in a small backpack when you're not riding it.

It's just a prototype at this stage, so setting it up might be a little more involved than it looks in the video; it seems the wheels detach, as well as the handlebars with their wireless controller unit, and this prototype version also appears to need an external air compressor to pump it up to a pressure that can bear the weight of a rider. Once it's pumped up and assembled, off you go, leaning the bike to steer and resting your feet on the base plates.

We have questions, though. How much battery is in that book-sized block on the bottom? It doesn't look like a lot, and according to IEEE Spectrum, the whole thing weighs just 5.5 kg (12 lb) so the range is probably pretty small. Do those double wheel units fit in the backpack too? Also, how long would it take to set up and inflate if it had a built-in air compressor? Indeed, how long does it take to get back into the backpack, and is that a practical enough process to make it worth bringing this thing to save you from a short walk?

Probably not. But it's just such a cute-looking jigger we had to show it to you. And The same Tokyo University team that built this is looking into other inflatable human-supporting devices like mobile inflatable sofas, which might make a bit more sense. Check out a short video below.

INT032: Soft yet Strong Inflatable Structures for a Foldable and Portable Mobility

Source: ACM SIGCHI via IEEE Spectrum

1 comment
paul314
If deployment speed weren't an issue, a lightweight portable chair would be a wonderful thing to carry around.

Or perhaps in pandemic times we might see fields of safely-spaced inflatable chairs and desks...