Honda UNI-CUB mobility device will definitely make us all obese

Honda UNI-CUB sample photo

Remember that scene in WALL-E when our robot protagonist finally falls into the realm of the Axiom ship, only to find that all the humans are morbidly obese and sitting on floating chairs, consuming only liquid meals, and have nearly forgotten how to walk? That’s the feeling we get when we see this UNI-CUB mobility device recently announced by Honda.

Honda UNI-CUB chair modelA brother of the U3-X personal mobility device, the tiny UNI-CUB chair contains an omni-direction wheel and a second, smaller wheel base that both help maintain the user’s balance. The device moves at a top speed of 6 kilometers per hour, or 3.7 mph. Users can control the speed and direction from their smartphone or tablet… because nothing’s better than watching where you’re going than looking down at your gadget. To the UNI-CUB’s credit, direction can also be controlled by shifting your weight while on the pressure-sensitive, saddle style cushion. The machine can also climb inclined paths and gradients.

“This UNI-CUB sets your hands free while you’re riding on it and you can always put down your feet to feel safe,” said Kenichi Sueda, Honda’s chief engineer. “Moreover, it offsets shocks when you bump an obstacle or people in crowded places.”

Unlike the segway, the UNI-CUB has a much more minimal design and maintains a fairly leveled height so users aren’t towering over other people when they hop on the machine. Using lithium-ion battery, the full charge can get the UNI-CUB running for 6 km or 3.7 miles, and it is not specified how much weight the device can withstand. While the mobility concept is kind of cool especially for those who actually need the help, but we have to admit we fear for the future adaptations of this machine. If it gets to the point of the average person preferring to use these devices over actually walking, WALL-E may have it right after all with the future of our mankind.

A demonstration of the UNI-CUB is set to be unveiled in June at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan. In the mean time, here’s a video of the Honda UNI-CUB in action.

Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Smart Home

The best sous vide machines cook your food perfectly, every single time

Want to make four-star meals from the comforts of your own kitchen? Here are the best sous vide machines available right now, whether you prefer simple immersion circulators or something more complex.
Smart Home

Speed up cooking with one of the best pressure cookers on the market

Not all pressure cookers are created equally. You have to choose between stovetop cookers, multicookers, canners, and even microwave cookers. Our pressure cooking buyer's guide includes our picks for the best in each category.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.