Self-balancing unicycles at 'Paris sans Voiture' (Paris without cars), September 2015

An electric unicycle (often initialized as EUC or acronymized yuke or Uni) is a self-balancing personal transporter with a single wheel. The rider controls speed by leaning forwards or backwards, and steers by twisting or tilting the unit side to side. The self-balancing mechanism uses accelerometers, gyroscopes, and a magnetometer.[1] Most manufacturers of EUCs are based out of China, including Segway, Inmotion, Kingsong, Begode, and Leaperkim.

Operation

Similar to hoverboards, Onewheels, and Segways, electric unicycles are self-balancing in a forward and backward direction, with side-to-side (lateral) stability being provided by human steering motions that tilt or twist the unit, similar to Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics. The control of a unicycle can be considered to be similar to an inverted pendulum. Many electric unicycles have suspension, either operated by air or springs.

Electric unicycles come in varying speeds, battery capacities, and motor wattages. Low-end models may have speeds up to 15mph and ranges or 10-15 miles, while advanced models being introduced in 2024 can reach 60mph and over 100 miles per charge.

History

Trevor Blackwell demonstrates his prototype.

Early experimentation

See also: Monowheel

A hand-power monowheel was patented in 1869 by Richard C. Hemming[2] with a pedal-power unit patented in 1885.[3] Various motorized monowheels were developed and demonstrated during the 1930s without commercial success[4] and Charles F Taylor was granted a patent for a "vehicle having a single supporting and driving wheel" in 1964 after some 25 years of experimentation.[5] In 1977 Charles Gabriel presented an electric unicycle that resembles the design of today's devices.[6]

Commercialisation

In 2003, Bombardier announced a conceptual design for such a device used as a sport vehicle, the Embrio.[7] In September 2004 Trevor Blackwell demonstrated a functional self-balancing unicycle, using a control-mechanism similar to that used by the Segway PT and published the designs as the Eunicycle.[citation needed] This approach was further refined by a group of engineering students at the University of Adelaide who developed The Micycle, which incorporated a hub-motor, a Lithium-Ion Battery and a novel steering mechanism where the wheel pivoted independent of the main chassis.[8]

The Micycle in 2010 with its steering mechanism, hub motor and lithium-ion battery pack

Early units had a seat, which limited how much the unit could be tilted,[9] but this was resolved with the transition to seatless units that could be tilted much more.[10] In March 2010 Shane Chen of Inventist filed a patent application for a seatless electric unicycle (associated with the "Solowheel" product launched in February 2011), which uses flat pedals to stand on and leg contact surfaces to allow for stable, precise control in lieu of a seat.[11][12][13] In Oct 2010 Focus Designs published a video of an electric unicycle with hub motor and a seat.[14] Late in 2015, the Ford Motor Company patented a "self-propelled unicycle engageable with vehicle", intended for last-mile commuters.[15] Segway launched their Ninebot One S1 model in November 2017.

EUC and motorized scooter riders participating in a group ride in San Francisco. PPE was worn due to higher top speed with newer EUC models. The man in a red jacket on the left was riding a suspension-model.

By the turn of the decade, several Chinese manufacturers dominate the market and continue to release EUC models with higher top speeds (above 75 km/h or 46 mph),[16] and longer range batteries.

Popularity came around the same time as Begode (formerly known as Gotway) released their M super line. This evolved into the MSX & MSP models and eventually into the RS model. Around this time Veteran stepped on to the scene for the first time with their road wheel the Sherman.[citation needed][clarification needed] In 2020, suspension EUCs were revealed by Inmotion, Kingsong and Gotway. After suspension, companies began to work on higher speeds and motor voltages.


Popular culture

Gallery

Manufacturers

See also

References

  1. ^ Ab Ghani, Suliana; Rashid, M.I.M.; Sulaiman, Mohd Herwan; Noor, M.K.M.; Subari, Norazian; Ramli, Noor Lina (2016-04-01). "Self balancing unicycle controlled by using arduino". ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 11 (7): 4239–4244 – via ResearchGate.
  2. ^ Improvement in velocipede, 1869
  3. ^ US Patent 325,548
  4. ^ Bierend, Doug (24 March 2014). "One-wheeled motorcycles: As cool as they are wildly dangerous". Wired.
  5. ^ US Patent 3,145,797
  6. ^ US Patent 4,109,741
  7. ^ "Hot Wheel". Forbes.
  8. ^ Kadis, A., D. Caldecott, A. Edwards, M. Jerbic, R. Madigan, M. Haynes, B. Cazzolato, and Z. Prime (December 2010). "Modelling, simulation and control of an electric unicycle" (PDF). Proc. of the 2010 Australasian Conference on Robotics & Automation (ACRA 2010).((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Trevor Blackwell (Anybots) meets the SBU". Retrieved 25 February 2024 – via www.youtube.com.
  10. ^ "EUC: Turning by tilting the wheel". Retrieved 25 February 2024 – via www.youtube.com.
  11. ^ "Powered single-wheeled self-balancing vehicle for standing user".
  12. ^ "Solowheel self-balancing unicycle is as easy to ride as it is to afford". Wngadget. 2011-02-11.
  13. ^ Depp, Ornaldo (2023-10-08). "Top 10 Best Electric Unicycles of 2024 - Ultimate Buying Guide". Outdoor Products Review. Retrieved 2023-11-23.
  14. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: focusdesigns (2010-10-11), Self Balancing Unicycle (SBU) V2.0, retrieved 2018-10-07
  15. ^ Read, Richard (December 29, 2015). "Ford Patent Could Transform Your Car Into A Unicycle". The Car Connection. Internet Brns Automotive Group. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Know this before buying a Veteran Sherman Electric Unicycle". oneradwheel.com. 2 August 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-15.
  17. ^ ANALOG — Science Fiction/Science Fact, Vol. LXXXIII, No. 5, July 1969, pp. 120-151. Illustrations by Peter Skirka.
  18. ^ "Begode". www.begode.com. Archived from the original on 2020-11-26. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  19. ^ "Inmotion: About Us". Archived from the original on 2019-07-29.
  20. ^ "Solowheel". inventist.com. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  21. ^ "King Song - Redefining Personal Electric Transportation Vehicles". www.kingsong.com. Archived from the original on 2002-09-22. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  22. ^ "Leaperkim Veteran Sherman-S Electric Unicycle". Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  23. ^ "Segway Z10". Archived from the original on 2018-10-01. Retrieved 2021-10-11.

Further reading

Research papers (in reverse date order)

Daniel R. Gilman "Riding an EUC – From Never-Ever to Expert – A Detailed Written Guide Learn To Ride An EUC - A Detailed Written Guide - From Never-Ever To Expert

Other