In Japan, convenient means of transportation using the latest technology are popping up all over the place. © OTOMO CORPORATION
Many of you might like easy-to-ride vehicles like bicycles, kick scooters and skateboards. Such means of transportation have gone high-tech lately and caught our attention. Let's take a look at leading-edge machines - all from Japan - for transporting us from one place to another.
Smooth Travels, Like Walks, on a Super Practical Tricycle
Japanese people own a lot of bicycles. The number of bicycles per 100 people is highest in Japan among Asian countries. You may think that the neighboring country of China has a larger population of cyclists, but the percentage of Japanese who own bicycles is higher than Chinese. Why? Because homes in many regions of Japan are close to facilities that are essential to daily life. They are within several minutes from places like convenience stores, supermarkets and schools. On this background, many convenient means of transportation have been developed, including bicycles.
The Walking Bicycle is a tricycle that you can move quickly by simply walking in place. The electric-assisted tricycle helps you travel smoothly forward as you gently step up and down on the pedals. © Katayama Kogyo Co., Ltd.
In the area of bicycles, a very practical tricycle has emerged, and it is perfect for the situation in Japan. You may have an image of a tricycle as a little child's toy, but this sophisticated tricycle is designed for everyone, from children to adults. Anyone who steps on the tricycle can move quickly by pedaling, which is done while standing upright so it feels like walking. It is marvelous.
Even if you do not ride bicycles well, you too are recommended to try the tricycle. With its three tires, it feels quite stable. One user who loves the tricycle and goes shopping nearby on it said, "It's so fun to ride! This is the first time I've felt such a smooth start after I stepped on the pedals. It's almost addictive." While riding, some users move their body, not just their legs, to exercise and improve posture. So the tricycle has also gained a good reputation as an effective way to get in better shape.
The stability is great with three tires. Riders can be of any age, as long as they are at least 140 cm tall. © Katayama Kogyo Co., Ltd.
A Futuristic Smartphone-Linked Unicycle Like in the Movies!
Next, let's take a look at a smartphone-linked vehicle that has plenty of fun elements. A well-known smartphone-linked device is the smartwatch, which allows users to check their times and amounts of physical activity. Even while smartwatches were making the news not long ago, a unicycle linked with a smartphone appeared in Japan. Unlike an ordinary unicycle, this one has no saddle. To ride it, you place your feet on the foot pedals and lean your body. It is a bit difficult to ride at first, but once you get the knack of it, you can go forward, backward, right and left as you like.
Ninebot One. Even first-time users quickly get better at riding this unicycle with its automatic balance controller. © OTOMO CORPORATION
On the dedicated smartphone app, you can check your speed and mileage, and you can choose from over 10,000 color patterns for the LED lights on both sides of the frame. The whole thing is lightweight and easy to carry. The cool design, like something out of a science-fiction movie, will definitely grab people's attention as you ride on the street!
The dedicated smartphone app not only offers a choice of colors for the lights but can also set various lighting effects, such as circling or pulsing lights. © OTOMO CORPORATION
Portable Four-Wheeled Transport – A Laptop-Sized Car!
Lastly, let's take a look at a surprisingly small electric scooter, which its maker calls a car. About the size of a 13-inch laptop computer, it can be carried in a bag. It is very simple to operate. Stand on top of the board and shift your weight to move forward, like you would on a skateboard. The sensors sense the weight shifts and transmit the movements to the wheels, which will turn, accelerate or brake accordingly. The maximum speed is 16 km per hour.
The WALKCAR is a small scooter that transports a rider standing on it like a skateboard. A consumer product will be ready to ship in September 2017. © COCOA MOTORS, Inc.
You would find this vehicle very useful when going somewhere that seems a bit far to go on foot. Many Japanese people who live in urban areas do not own cars, and they travel by train and bus. If they had this scooter in their bags, they could quickly reach even destinations that are far from a train, subway or bus station. It would also be convenient not to deal with the hassle of finding parking for an automobile or bicycle.
The WALKCAR is the same size as a 13-inch laptop computer and weighs 2.8 kg. You can carry it around in a bag. © COCOA MOTORS, Inc.
What is even more amazing about this vehicle is that the compact body packs a lot of horsepower. Surprisingly, while standing on it, you can effortlessly push to transport even a person in a wheelchair or a cart carrying a heavy load of more than 30 kg.
Means of transportation in Japan are evolving even more into handy, high-tech machines. The trend is unlikely to end anytime soon. In a decade, the streets of Japan may be crowded with interesting vehicles. What kind of vehicles will people be riding? There are great expectations for the future.Related Articles