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The Self-Balancing Electric Unicycle: Silly or Innovative?


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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Written By

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.


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