Urban Transport

Inflatable electric scooter is made to fit each rider

Inflatable electric scooter is...
The new custom-fit Poimo e-scooter
The new custom-fit Poimo e-scooter
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The Poimo scooter, along with two manual wheelchairs incorporating the same technology
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The Poimo scooter, along with two manual wheelchairs incorporating the same technology
The seven sections of the Poimo are joined together by the user after being inflated
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The seven sections of the Poimo are joined together by the user after being inflated
The new custom-fit Poimo e-scooter
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The new custom-fit Poimo e-scooter
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It was just this May that we heard about Poimo, an experimental inflatable electric scooter developed at Tokyo University. Well, its designers have now unveiled a custom-fit version that would be made for each user, based on photos that they provide.

First of all, why would anyone want an inflatable scooter? Well, as is the case with a lot of other inflatable products, the idea is that it wouldn't take up much room when being stored or transported. Once it was time to ride, the vehicle's body could be inflated using a regular floor pump.

In the latest version of Poimo (POrtable and Inflatable MObility), users start by taking a series of photos of themselves in the desired seating position. Utilizing those images, special software then builds a 3D computer model of the scooter, custom-designed to accommodate a rider of their dimensions, in their preferred pose.

If they're the finicky type, users can then tweak that model. As they change various aspects of it, the software automatically adjusts the overall design so that its strength, stability and operability aren't compromised. Once the model is finalized, it's submitted to the manufacturer (or at least it would be, if the system were to reach real-world use).

The actual scooter is then created out of relatively tough dropstitch fabric, in seven separate inflatable sections. These sections include the wheels, but obviously not the electronic components such as the brushless motor or lithium-ion battery pack.

The seven sections of the Poimo are joined together by the user after being inflated
The seven sections of the Poimo are joined together by the user after being inflated

The functioning prototype reportedly tips the scales at about 9 kg (20 lb), has a top speed of 6 km/h (3.7 mph), and runs for approximately one hour per charge. It was developed in partnership with Japanese tech startup mercari R4D, and will be the subject of a presentation later this month at the online UIST 2020 conference.

You can see the new Poimo scooter in action – along with a manual wheelchair based on the same technology – in the video below.

Source: Poimo

poimo: Portable and Inflatable Mobility Devices Customizable for Personal Physical Characteristics

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4 comments
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In WW2 they developed an inflatable plane. This scooter will probably be just as successful!
Marke Johnston
How hard would it be to include a small air compressor along with the drive wheel?
there is already a battery, use a small second motor to inflate?
Scott Hawrelechko
I knew the lead engineer responsible for designing the inflatable plane in WW2. He also designed a working prototype of a flying jeep using inflatable rotors. He’s long passed away along with many of his ideas.
DavidB
With it already featuring such a short range and low speed, Marke Johnson, would you really want to use any of that battery’s reserve for powering a built-in inflator? Never mind the effect on range and possibly speed that the additional weight would have.

I was mildly interested in this idea until I saw those numbers.

Pass.