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Clean Transport unicycle

Published on October 20th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

31

The Self-Balancing Electric Unicycle: Silly or Innovative?

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October 20th, 2008 by  

unicycle

Are you an electric vehicle-loving balance guru? Then you should get in line for Focus Design’s self-balancing unicycle (SBU). The unicycle can blaze down the street at 8.5 MPH, and can go for 12 miles on a single charge. At 25 pounds, it can easily be carried to a charging station.

The unicycle rider controls the vehicle’s speed by leaning forwards or backwards to go faster or stop. There are no pedals—only foot rests.

According to Focus Designs, even balance-challenged riders may fare reasonably well on the SBU. The vehicle stays upright using “accelerometers and gyroscopes with sophisticated balancing algorithms”. Riders will need to stay at least partially upright by themselves, though—the company says that the SBU is about half as difficult to ride as a regular unicycle.

The SBU is coming out in limited production next month for $1,500. If you’re interested, start boning up on your interview skills now— the first ten buyers will be chosen on the basis of order date and the quality of a personal interview.

Will the release of the SBU spawn an electric unicycle trend? Probably not. But it’s definitely a fun addition to the rapidly growing canon of electric vehicles.

Photo Credit: Gearlog

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • http://focusdesigns.com Daniel Wood

    Silly or Innovative? Both actually.

    Check out the video of Adam Savage riding the SBU (self-balancing unicycle) for the first time: http://focusdesigns.com/2009/12/21/adam-savage-sbu/

  • http://focusdesigns.com Daniel Wood

    Silly or Innovative? Both actually.

    Check out the video of Adam Savage riding the SBU (self-balancing unicycle) for the first time: http://focusdesigns.com/2009/12/21/adam-savage-sbu/

  • http://www.clockout.org employee time management

    Sweet, a unisegway. This would pwn on Like a Pierott.

  • http://www.clockout.org employee time management

    Sweet, a unisegway. This would pwn on Like a Pierott.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/onewheeledselfbalancing/ John

    If you like this then check out the “enicycle” from Slovenia. It is much better, has a novel steering system and he is trying to get funding to put it into production. He is far too modest and so only has around 1000 hits on his youtube vid. Watch him ride it around a shopping mall, down a corridor and into his office (with his arms down by his side).

  • http://sites.google.com/site/onewheeledselfbalancing/ John

    If you like this then check out the “enicycle” from Slovenia. It is much better, has a novel steering system and he is trying to get funding to put it into production. He is far too modest and so only has around 1000 hits on his youtube vid. Watch him ride it around a shopping mall, down a corridor and into his office (with his arms down by his side).

  • valonic

    wow…just fantastic bycicle))) I like it

  • valonic

    wow…just fantastic bycicle))) I like it

  • http://www.boredquiz.com/ Bored

    how about poser lol why would you wanta pretend you could ride a unicycle

  • http://www.boredquiz.com/ Bored

    how about poser lol why would you wanta pretend you could ride a unicycle

  • Pingback: KTM Producing Off-Road Electric Motorcycle : CleanTechnica

  • Mr. Sinister

    Silly or innovative? I’ll cast my vote for silly.

  • Mr. Sinister

    Silly or innovative? I’ll cast my vote for silly.

  • Z

    I live in Boulder, CO and I can see myself whipping around town everyday on one. What a great idea. Not entirely practical, but it would turn heads without a doubt.

  • http://kraft.com Cheesewizer

    I like to ride my human powered unicycle in triathlons while wizzing the cheese.

    With this baby, I could focus my efforts on wizzing the cheese while the electric motor does the other work.

    Genius.

  • http://kraft.com Cheesewizer

    I like to ride my human powered unicycle in triathlons while wizzing the cheese.

    With this baby, I could focus my efforts on wizzing the cheese while the electric motor does the other work.

    Genius.

  • ZAPPY

    I dont know if a unicycle will catch on majorly, but electric bikes are really popular right now both the off road varieties as well as the kind where you fit an electric motor to your bicycle.

  • Pete

    It’s half as easy to ride as a regular unicycle? A standard unicycle is hard enough.

  • Pete

    It’s half as easy to ride as a regular unicycle? A standard unicycle is hard enough.

  • Anon

    “…the company says that the SBU is about half as easy to ride as a regular unicycle.” Doesn’t that mean that it’s more difficult to ride? Twice as difficult, actually? One would hope that a self-balancing unicycle would be twice as easy to ride as a regular unicycle. ;]

    Cool idea! Everybody seems to be jumping on-board the electric motor bandwagon.

  • Anon

    “…the company says that the SBU is about half as easy to ride as a regular unicycle.” Doesn’t that mean that it’s more difficult to ride? Twice as difficult, actually? One would hope that a self-balancing unicycle would be twice as easy to ride as a regular unicycle. ;]

    Cool idea! Everybody seems to be jumping on-board the electric motor bandwagon.

  • Professor Figsby

    “the company says that the SBU is about half as easy to ride as a regular unicycle.”

    Please tell me that this there should be a ‘twice’ instead of a ‘half’ – I can’t see anyone wanting to make unicycle riding more difficult

  • Professor Figsby

    “the company says that the SBU is about half as easy to ride as a regular unicycle.”

    Please tell me that this there should be a ‘twice’ instead of a ‘half’ – I can’t see anyone wanting to make unicycle riding more difficult

  • Kevin Pham

    So it’s a one wheel segway, without the handlebars.

  • Kevin Pham

    So it’s a one wheel segway, without the handlebars.

  • rich

    segway?

  • rich

    segway?

  • http://nuTsie.com jon

    get a bicycle people – exercise promotes good feelings.

  • http://nuTsie.com jon

    get a bicycle people – exercise promotes good feelings.

  • Z

    I live in Boulder, CO and I can see myself whipping around town everyday on one. What a great idea. Not entirely practical, but it would turn heads without a doubt.

  • ZAPPY

    I dont know if a unicycle will catch on majorly, but electric bikes are really popular right now both the off road varieties as well as the kind where you fit an electric motor to your bicycle.

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