Inflatable electric scooter is made to fit each rider

It was just this May that we heard about Poimo, an experimental inflatable electric scooter developed at Tokyo University. Well, its designers have now unveiled a custom-fit version that would be made for each user, based on photos that they provide.

First of all, why would anyone want an inflatable scooter? Well, as is the case with a lot of other inflatable products, the idea is that it wouldn’t take up much room when being stored or transported. Once it was time to ride, the vehicle’s body could be inflated using a regular floor pump.

In the latest version of Poimo (POrtable and Inflatable MObility), users start by taking a series of photos of themselves in the desired seating position. Utilizing those images, special software then builds a 3D computer model of the scooter, custom-designed to accommodate a rider of their dimensions, in their preferred pose.

If they’re the finicky type, users can then tweak that model. As they change various aspects of it, the software automatically adjusts the overall design so that its strength, stability and operability aren’t compromised. Once the model is finalized, it’s submitted to the manufacturer (or at least it would be, if the system were to reach real-world use).

The actual scooter is then created out of relatively tough dropstitch fabric, in seven separate inflatable sections. These sections include the wheels, but obviously not the electronic components such as the brushless motor or lithium-ion battery pack.

The functioning prototype reportedly tips the scales at about 9 kg (20 lb), has a top speed of 6 km/h (3.7 mph), and runs for approximately one hour per charge. It was developed in partnership with Japanese tech startup mercari R4D, and will be the subject of a presentation later this month at the online UIST 2020 conference.

You can see the new Poimo scooter in action – along with a manual wheelchair based on the same technology – in the video below.


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