Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I gotta gets me one of these!

I spent a week in an embarrassing attempt to learn how to ride a unicycle. Honestly, by the time it was over, I was sick of the thing, and I had an interesting collection of bruises for my effort. Now, it turns out that I needn't have bothered.

(Image from DVICE)

This is based on the same ring laser gyro technology used in those evil Segway devices that are out to take over the world. But somehow when it's attached to a simple unicycle, all the malevolence is lost. Go figure.

According to Focus Designs, the Self Balancing Unicycle (SBU) is capable of a maximum speed of 8 mph, and a range of about 12 miles. It weighs 25 pounds. This may be a useful device for multi-mode commuters since it would be more convenient than a folding bike and the relatively low speed would make it easier to mix in with pedestrians. (I'm not certain of the legality of unicycles on the road, so I'm being hesitant here.)

The SBU should be available in November and will cost $1500. Now, if Focus Designs (ahem) wanted to send me one for long term testing, I'd wring it out thoroughly and subject it to Ed's Vertical Crush Test for months if necessary. There's no weight limit stated, so I could realize my childhood dream of joining the circus! Sure, I'd be a big, gray-haired bear on a unicycle, but at least it's a circus act. I wouldn't ride the SBU to work, though. An hour commuting back and forth at 8 mph is just too slow.

One other thing, guys, and that's the name. Lose the SBU. It sounds like some kind of disease or maybe a cop show on television. This thing needs a snappy, hipster name. Maybe "Zipster" or "Uncle Funster" or even a made up pornstar name like "Zeke Second." Think about it. I'm available for consulting - after I've had a few more cups of coffee.

At least I wouldn't end up with my foot stuck through the spokes on this one.

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Blogger Greg! said...

None of the malevolence of a Segway, but all of the dorkiness (and then some). Sounds like a win/win.

As to the name, what about "Dorkatron 1000"?

5:36 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

"Always with the negative vibes, Moriarty!"

I prefer a positive spin on this one, and Dorkatron 1000 just doesn't have the right ring to it. I could see riding to the grocery store on a hot summer day, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, plaid Bermuda shorts, my ancient and venerable 'birth control' glasses (think big black frames!)and one of them little porkpie hats. But it would be a cool version of me, not the dorky one. So there.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Greg! said...

Sorry, Ed. I don't know what I was thinking, that does sound, um... cool. Yeah, cool, that's it.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Did I mention that I had a pocket protector with my name tag attached, and that I not only had a belt scabbard for my slide rule, I knew how to use it?

I didn't date much in those days. Dunno why.

12:38 PM  

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