Perhaps best-known for its diesel engines and robotic agricultural equipment, Japanese company Yanmar also makes personal watercraft. Its latest addition to the latter category is a little something known as the Wheeebo, which is kind of like an aquatic Segway.
Due to be released next year at a yet-to-be-announced price, the Wheeebo takes the form of a thick floating disc which the user stands upon.
They then simply shift their body weight in the direction that they wish to travel, with integrated sensors detecting that shift and causing the electric-motored craft to accelerate, stop or turn accordingly. While Yanmar has referred to a "propeller mounted under the board," it's not immediately clear if that prop swivels in different directions, if it has a steerable rudder behind it, or what.
Speed is controlled by a wireless handheld remote, which is used to switch between two modes – the Wheeebo tops out at a modest walking-speed-like 3 knots (3.5 mph, or 5.6 km/h). Power is provided by a nickel-hydrogen battery pack, which should offer a greater number of charge cycles but lower energy density than the more traditional lithium-ion technology. A single charge is good for a claimed 60 minutes of runtime.
Not surprisingly, the Wheeebo is intended for use in calm conditions, in salt or fresh water. It will be available in two diameters – 140 and 150 cm/55 and 59 inches – depending on rider weight and intended usage.
It can be seen in rather sedate action, in the video below.
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