The University of Tokyo, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and Mercari R4D have designed a new inflatable scooter that can be adapted to the body of the rider simply by taking a picture of the position he/she would like to drive in. Better yet, the inflatable device can even be transformed into a practical and comfortable wheelchair.
The new product is called poimo and its makers believe it makes society more inclusive by providing means of transportation that suit a variety of people. The scooter/wheelchair combines soft robotics and mobility to offer people a reliable and practical mode of transportation.
poimo can easily be inflated and then deflated to be carried anywhere. It bridges together other modes of transportation such as metros and buses.
This is because it can easily be carried onto public transportation when deflated and then set up again to complete the last few miles of a passenger's journey that can not be reached by public means. This time around, its designers did not give any details on the number of parts poimo has.
However, an earlier version released last May was reported by the BBC as consisting of five solid, detachable components: two sets of wheels, an electric motor, a battery, and handlebars with a built-in wireless controller. It was also reported to be made primarily out of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and weigh about 12lb (5.5kg) in total.
"We believe that our inflatable mobility, which is different from existing mobility systems and creates new relationships with people, will be useful for the city in the future," told Ryuma Niiyama to BBC, part of the development team at the University of Tokyo.
The BBC also reported that poimo's makers planned to reduce the scooter's weight so we can assume that this version may be slightly lighter. We will be waiting patiently for more info on the exciting new vehicle!