Forget the bulky Segway - could the next big innovation in mobility be the WalkCar?
Invented by Kuniako Saito, the WalkCar is a mobility platform the size of a laptop that moves by sensing changes in its passenger's shifting weight. The gliding transportation it provides has lead some to call it a modern day magic carpet. It's made of aluminum and runs on lithium batteries - and slipping it into your laptop bag when you arrive at your destination is a lot more practical than figuring out where to park your Seway.
Saito told Reuters that he was inspired when he thought, "What if we could just carry our transportation in our bags, wouldn't that mean we'd always have our transportation with us to ride on?" Encouraged by a friend, Saito, who was working on his masters in engineering with a focus on electric car motor control systems, decided to go ahead and test out his idea. The result was the WalkCar.
The device is extremely portable, yet powerful. It can carry its passenger (up to 265 pounds) up hills, navigate sharp turns, and breeze over small bumps in the roadway. The WalkCar's top speed is 6.2 miles, and after three hours of charging it can bring its rider up to 7.4 miles away.
The WalkCar is slated to be launched in the spring of 2016 for 100,000 Japanese yen, or around $800. The company is relying on an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for seed money, and pre-orders will be available come October.