From time to time, I dredge YouTube to see what’s new in one-person transportation. I keep hoping for the breakthrough product that will combine Not Looking Like A Dick while using it with an actual affordable price.
I don’t know the price of this one, but damn, I like it otherwise:
I rode a Segway the day it was announced. It always seemed too damned big. Compared to this Chinese one, it’s the SUV of personal transport! This Chinese model looks like an R2D2 version. I don’t think anyone would look like a dick on it. And it doesn’t hog the sidewalk like a Segway would.
As I was doing this post, I stumbled over information that this is now allegedly being sold in the United States!
It’s being called the EcoBoomer M1 but the site will not list a damn single-unit price, hence my skepticism over its actual availability. (There are no owner videos on YouTube, for instance.)
Here’s an unboxing and setup video from China:
Update: Someone on YouTube claims a Robin M1 costs US$2,500. If it’s true, that’s just ridiculous. What kind of custom electronics are they using? I’m thinking they could cut that price probably in half if owners had to supply the brain. Wouldn’t an iPod Touch have the processing power that’s needed to do the balancing calculations? Hell, people could get used a iPod Touch for cheap. Some people even have old iPhones. Give them the necessary software that would otherwise be contained in custom electronics and custom software. Why wouldn’t that work? It seems to me that when trying to create a mass market for something like this, as much expense as possible should be subtracted from the cost of the product. And I think most of that cost is probably in custom electronics. Remove that and maybe it could go as low as US$499. Then they’d get somewhere with it.
Second update: Another way to cut cost is to remove the assembly process. Sell it as a brainless kit. I could see Maker-like people having weekend jam sessions helping one another build these things and making sure the iPod Touch/iPhone brains worked properly.
Third update: Now I’m also thinking that another way to get the cost down is to sell it as a brainless kit without tires. The tires are probably heavy and would increase shipping cost. If the tires are custom, the entire thing should be re-engineered to use standard tires that are already available for other personal vehicles.