Researchers make prototype for inflatable e-scooter that fits inside a backpack

Micro scooters and electric scooters are the scourge of any city pedestrian, and not just because they whizz past you, knocking your Pret toastie out of your hands for the pigeons (perhaps that just happened to me?).

It’s also because of their design, sitting right at ankle height and threatening to rip your fibula, tibia, and talus to shreds.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo might just have solved the problem, though, creating a prototype for a sturdier electric scooter that doesn’t need to be folded and carried in such a dangerous way.

Not only this, but the scooter is actually inflatable, and can be popped in a backpack while not in use and blown up on the go when you’re ready to scoot.

The scooter weighs twelve pounds and has been nicknamed Poimo.

It takes around a minute to inflate, being designed for short trips (what the team from Tokyo call ‘one-mile mobility’).

So, you can’t traverse the country on your Poimo, but can hop between close-by neighbourhoods or get yourself to connecting bus and train stops.

To inflate Poimo, attach the included pump, which reaches a pressure of between six and seven pounds per square inch, half of a standard football.

Next you attach the rubber wheels, a small electric motor, and a wireless controller that clips onto the handlebars.

The team of the University of Tokyo presented Poimo at the 2020 HRI Conference, an annual gathering focused on new research for human-robot interactions.

At this stage the scooter is just a prototype and not available to the public.

However, it’s hoped that they’ll be able to make it a commercial product in time, as well as streamlining Poimo to be even smaller and lighter.

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