Feet on: InMotion's R2 self-balancing transporter
InMotion has added to the growing list of portable urban "transport appliances" by showing a redesigned version of its flagship R2 device and a companion unicycle at CES 2015. Gizmag took them for a ride in Las Vegas.
Like the Toyota Winglet, the R2 is much less clunky and goofy than the original Segway. An earlier version made an appearance at CES in 2014, and this year InMotion returned with a new redesigned update, as well as the V3 dual-wheel portable electric unicycle and a prototype "smart scooter" that seemed to be for eyes only as reps told us it wasn't yet ready to ride around the show floor.
Like other sensor-controlled vehicles, the R2 and V3 are operated through subtle shifts in the user's weight. The R2 comes with a detachable handlebar that allows for easier control and turns, but it can also be ridden hand-free without the handlebar. There's also a remote control "SmartKey" you can use to start up and lock your R2 from a distance.
The second generation of InMotion's transport device gets a new case design and more powerful motor that the company says has a higher ground clearance allowing it to truck up inclines as steep as 24 degrees. It has a small headlight for night riding and weighs 36 pounds (16.5 kg), making it easy to toss in the trunk or back seat. There's also a new smartphone app that adds navigation functions and lets parents or companies set geo-fenced limits to keep a vehicle within a designated area.
We spent some time riding around the CES show floor on an InMotion R2 and found it incredibly easy to get the hang of within just seconds using the handlebar. It feels stable, and while it doesn't take much of a lean forward or backward to start it moving, it is also intuitive and easy to control.
We can't quite say the same for the V3 unicycle model which, like similar products such as Honda's UNI-CUB β and the Solowheel, takes some practice to get used to.
InMotion reps explained that they consider the V3 to be more of an "extreme sports type" of ride for doing tricks that would require some practice time.
InMotion says the R2 and its predecessor model have seen tens of thousands of units sold in China and has quietly been rolling out in the United States over the last six months. It expects to release the V3 worldwide later in 2015. The R2 costs US $2,499 and while there is no official price just yet for the V3, we were told to expect it to be around $799.
You can watch a quick lesson in riding the R2 below.
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The unicycles may be a harder to ride (although there is a video on youtube that show kids learning to ride them in less than three minutes) but I can't imagine it is harder to learn than riding a bicycle, and everybody knows how to do that. In addition, the unicycles are small and light enough to take them on a commuter train with you, for instance. And they actually do look cool. Or at least not as geeky as the segway type scooters. No way I would let myself be seen on a Segway, but I'm seriously thinking about getting a unicycle.
Riding a bike provides some form of exercise without wasting time at the gym.