Self-balancing scooter swaps wheels for a ball
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.
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.