Eunicycle Single-Wheel Gyro-Stabilized Scooter

Dr. Trevor Blackwell has constructed a self-balancing, powered unicycle he calls the Eunicycle. It's pretty close to what Robert Heinlein had in mind in 1940 in The Roads Must Roll.


(From Self-balancing Eunicycle)

The Eunicycle balances itself using a feedback loop between a solid-state gyroscope and the wheel motor. When the rider tilts forward, it runs the wheel forward to keep balanced; about 200 updates per second make for a smooth ride. Check out this cool Eunicycle video (14 Mb) on his Eunicycle page.

Dr. Blackwell states that it does take some practice to ride comfortably. His posture in the photo shows the use of arms to keep balanced side-to-side; steering is accomplished by swiveling hips and arms.

There is an amazingly close correspondence between the Eunicycle and a device that Robert Heinlein wrote about in his story The Roads Must Roll. The tumblebug is a handy scooter used by engineers when troubleshooting problems on the rolling roads.

Gaines and Harvey mounted tumblebugs, and kept abreast of the Cadet Captain, some twenty-five yards behind the leading wave. It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles, and he felt awkward. A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.
(Read more about Robert Heinlein's Tumblebug.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/31/2005)

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