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Robotic Roller Skate Micro-Mobility

The idea of powered robotic roller skates has been an attractive idea for at least a century. These unit-type micro-mobility prototypes were demonstrated by Toshinobu Takei of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology at the 2009 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo.


(Unit-type micro-mobility robotic roller skate video)

They could frankly be a bit zippier; the powered roller skates can only manage an anemic 4 km per hour (try the in-line Motosk8 with a two-stroke gas motor for more power). They move when you grasp the poles and lean forward. Apparently, they're based on "takeuma", which are simple bamboo stilts that kids play with in Japan.

Hugo Gernsback loved the idea of powered roller skates. In the advanced world of his 1911 novel Ralph 124c 41 +, everyone loved them. And no wonder; just take a look at the lovely young woman and the dashing young man in an original illustration reproduced below.

...Ralph bade Alice sit down on a chair in the vestibule. He pressed a nearby button twice and a servant brought two pairs of what appeared to be roller-skates.

In reality they were Tele-motor-coasters. They were made of alomagnesium and each weighed only about one and a half pounds. Each had three small, rubber-covered wheels, one in front and two in the rear. Between the wheels was a small electric motor - about the size of a lemon; this motor could only be operated by high frequency currents and, despite its small size, could deliver about one-quarter horsepower...
(Read more about tele-motor-coasters)

Here's a graphic image by Frank R. Paul from the publication of the novel in Amazing Stories Quarterly (1929).

Via Botropolis.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/2/2009)

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