Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"I took the Minnesota multiphasic profile test once, and I tested out as paranoid, cyclothymic, neurotic, and schizophrenic. But I also tested out as an incorrigible liar!"
- Philip K. Dick

  A monocycle; a motorcycle that balances on a single wheel.  

In this excerpt, the unthinkable has happened; the rolling roads have been sabotaged. Chief Engineer Gaines assembles his maintenance cadets and sets out to inspect and repair the damage.

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. But it is perfectly adapted to patrolling the maze of machinery 'down inside', since it can go through an opening the width of a man's shoulders, is easily controlled and will stand patiently upright, waiting, should its rider dismount.
From The Roads Must Roll, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1940
Additional resources -

Here's what they thought it would look like in 1940:

(Heinlein tumblebug from Astounding SF June 1940)

The oddest thing about a tumblebug is that it relies on "gyro-stabilization" the way we normally rely on two wheels. The Segway, a two-wheeled conveyance, similarly relies on gyro-stabilization.

Be sure to see how a modern company has created a monocycle concept vehicle similar to the tumblebug: read EMBRIO Embodies the Tumblebug. Closer yet, read about the Eunicycle Gyro-Stabilized Single Wheel Scooter.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Roads Must Roll
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Roads Must Roll
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Tumblebug-related news articles:
  - EMBRIO Embodies The Tumblebug
  - Eunicycle Single-Wheel Gyro-Stabilized Scooter
  - Segway Robotic Mobility Platform Looks Like A Tumblebug
  - Tango Motorcycle Monocycle Like Heinlein's Tumblebug
  - Self-Balancing Unicycle - Heinlein's Tumblebug
  - eniCycle Self-Balancing Tumblebug
  - Honda U3-X Self-Balancing Unicycle Video
  - Self-Balancing Unicycle Mythbuster Video
  - SBU Self Balancing Unicycle Perfected In V2.0
  - Solowheel Self-Balancing Unicycle
  - Self-Balancing Electric Unicycle By MIT Student
  - Honda's Tumblebug - The UNI-CUB beta
  - RYNO To Heinlein - Your Tumblebug Is Ready!
  - Pinwheel Battery-Powered Unicycle Is Segway In Your Price Range
  - Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
  - Solowheel Xtreme Heinlein Tumblebug Video
  - Hi-Yo Modobag! Away!

Articles related to Transportation
Musk Tweets A Boring Tunnel Pic
Tesla Electric Automatobus Prototype Spotted?
easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.





Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.





More News

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.'

Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

Soft Robotics - Now With 3D Printed Sensors!
'A series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce the amount of pressure necessary to snap a bone...'

AI Tool Lynx Insight And The Cybernetic Newsroom
'The structure,... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times. It printed itself directly below us...'

Espresso Telescope Searches For Exoplanets
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.'

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.