Permoveh, short for personal mobility vehicle, incorporates a clever wheels-within-a-wheel system, enabling the user to effortlessly move not only backwards and forwards, but also sideways and diagonally. It can even rotate on the spot.
Looking at it more closely, you’ll see that each of Permoveh’s four wheels incorporates 32 rollers along their perimeters, allowing for greater mobility. The vehicle, which has a modest top speed of 6 kph, is controlled using a handset.
Associate professor of mechanical engineering at Kyoto University Masaharu Komori, who headed the team that built Permoveh, hopes the system will one day give users of electric wheelchairs greater freedom in their everyday lives, allowing them to negotiate tight spaces much more easily.
Permoveh currently costs around 3 million yen ($36,000) but researchers hope that with further development, and by making it smaller lighter, they’ll be able to reduce its price tag to around a million yen ($12,000).
It could be a while, however, before Permoveh appears on the market, with its creators saying it may not be fully ready for at least another three years.
Check out the video below to see Permoveh in action.