A wearable car?
January 12, 2001 7:34 AM   Subscribe

A wearable car? is this really 'IT'?
posted by tiaka (40 comments total)
Shouldn't this have een posted within the previous IT thread?
That said, this guess sounds pretty cool, tho I'd rather have the new VW Microbus.
posted by thirteen at 7:54 AM on January 12, 2001

Between this guy and Wolfram I think I've just about had it with all-hype scientists.

And what's with all the implications that inviting Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos to your house makes you somehow a genius?

I'm all for a new wonder-scooter, but if that's all it is, then this is the most overhyped invention since the AIBO
posted by ritualdevice at 7:56 AM on January 12, 2001

BMW is also bringing back the Mini Cooper. Apparently people can't get vehicles small enough these days.
posted by Doug at 7:56 AM on January 12, 2001

A new Transporter?

No Link??
posted by baylink at 7:56 AM on January 12, 2001

This all reminds me of a picture in one of visual futurist Syd Mead's picture books. I think he called it a monopod.

But I agree: tired meme.

posted by xiffix at 7:57 AM on January 12, 2001

No Link??

posted by Markb at 8:12 AM on January 12, 2001

Has anyone here seen The Wizard of Speed and Time? (A cult film, but worth watching for Angelique Pettijohn's brief appearance as a dominatrix, if for no other reason.) At one point, having hocked his car for operating funds, Mike Jittlov uses a car built into a briefcase to drive somewhere. That thing actually exists.

In the mean time, I don't see what advantage this new gizmo has over a motorcycle.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:15 AM on January 12, 2001

speaking of all-hype -- this episode keeps reminding me of Dr. Randell Mills & Blacklight power
posted by palegirl at 8:18 AM on January 12, 2001

In the mean time, I don't see what advantage this new gizmo has over a motorcycle.

Let's see... just as fast, half the stability... I'd guess it's being marketed as a means of population control.
posted by mikewas at 8:23 AM on January 12, 2001

I don't see what advantage this new gizmo has over a motorcycle.

If it's the uni-scooter, it has several advantages:

* smaller & lighter, requiring less fuel for propulsion
* fewer moving parts, requiring less maintenance
* the size of a Hoover, requiring only a closet for parking space.

And some disadvantages:

* inability to merge with freeway traffic....
posted by Tubes at 8:24 AM on January 12, 2001

I am certainly going to buy this item if my wife is unable to use her cell phone while using it to get about.
posted by Postroad at 8:43 AM on January 12, 2001

Wait a minute, so these images are probably the real thing? I thought they were a joke.
posted by mathowie at 9:00 AM on January 12, 2001

What keeps you from falling over at a stop sign or red light? (And why does it remind me of this?)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:12 AM on January 12, 2001

Oooohhhhh....... I get it!

60 mph Razor scooters! People will buy these and then they'll end up having to buy the cool wheel chair. Nice marketing.

Seriously, this is so dangerous I can't see it ever happening. Even if cities build around it, a private roadway filled with these things would be a roller derby.

If it goes over 20 mph it's too fast to be safe. If it goes under 20 mph it's too slow to replace the bike.

Plus, once people get really fat because they don't have to walk any more these will start using up too much power.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:13 AM on January 12, 2001

Riding the same train of thought with Steven...

Why is it that when I see the patent images, this picture always pops into my head?
posted by Avogadro at 9:18 AM on January 12, 2001

Mike Robbins: "I think Mr Kamen has invented a device which prevents Microsoft Word from doing things you don't want it to do. Such a device would have a global market."
posted by honkzilla at 9:41 AM on January 12, 2001

Dr. Randell Mills & Blacklight power

Whoa... Now Dr. Mills' work, if it pans out, sounds like stuff that could truly change the world. Much more so than a scooter.

How has BlackLight not been a MF thread yet?
posted by Tubes at 10:08 AM on January 12, 2001

Mathowie...if you look at the front page of that patent, you can see Kamen's name listed as the inventor. And DEKA is signed on as the partners. Looks pretty close to me, although this Kamen guy sounds like quite and inventor, so who knows, this could just be another project of his.
posted by Hackworth at 10:18 AM on January 12, 2001

Kamen, who according to Wired magazine holds a Guinness record for the longest interrupted span of time spent dressed in denim...

I don't know whether I'm pointing out that a) this has to be a typo, b) if it is, man how stinky, c) if it isn't who cares or d) if it is, who cares?
posted by jennyb at 10:36 AM on January 12, 2001

I liked the design of the new bus when it was just a parody postcard designed by 6rady.
posted by captaincursor at 10:42 AM on January 12, 2001

I think the one-wheel balance patent is misleading. After doing some searching and reading articles (heck, he sold Bob Metcalf) and looking at pictures of Kamen's IBOT (climbing wheelchair), I'm inclined to believe it's an individual personnel transport device of some sort.
posted by bkdelong at 11:04 AM on January 12, 2001

I think the Washington Post article is a direct reflection of the /. thread. It neither confirms nor denies anything, but takes the best guess the "Digerati" could come up with, and suggested that as the truth.

IT's a jet-pack, dammit.
posted by cCranium at 11:22 AM on January 12, 2001

IT's a jet-pack, dammit.

Hell, in that case I'd prefer the Moller Skycar. It worked great for Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino.
posted by bkdelong at 11:39 AM on January 12, 2001

But uv'course we've seen WOSAT. Anyone with brains, taste, and a sense of humor has.

It's Pettyjohn, BTW.

I liked Paige better.
posted by baylink at 11:42 AM on January 12, 2001

Um, bk? Your second link appears to have gone astray. Are you suggesting that there's actually a flyable M400 now? Even as a prototype?
posted by baylink at 1:02 PM on January 12, 2001


And yes, there allegedly is a prototype that was fly-tested over 200 times by 1998.
posted by bkdelong at 1:40 PM on January 12, 2001

I don't think IT would be that dangerous if the rider was appropriately dressed. [via The Reg]
posted by harmful at 1:44 PM on January 12, 2001

If I had a choice, I would get one of THESE instead!
posted by Sal Amander at 2:10 PM on January 12, 2001

The latest Reuters article seems to side with my assertion that IT is just a stupid scooter.

A lot of people are going to be very disappointed when IT comes out.

posted by aaron at 2:55 PM on January 12, 2001

Reuters has a bunch of morons on staff. They've printed that Bill Gates credit card info was stolen when it was found to be faked, that the Coolio picked up by the Feds was a member of a well-known defacement group, when a week earlier media outlets correctly placed the kid in New Hampshire (two hackers were using the same nickname), and used a known fraud as a source for a story he had no clue about.

Their research skills suck. They probably just looked at the patent pictures and a few Internet posts.
posted by bkdelong at 3:12 PM on January 12, 2001

Yes, but you could say that about any news organization. Sorting through a few days' worth of anyone's stories will bring up at least a few whoppers. Doesn't mean the rest of what they say is automatically incorrect.
posted by aaron at 3:23 PM on January 12, 2001

The point wasn't the errors it was the lack of research Reuters does. If they had done a little more digging, they would have found that the Coolio they wrote about was not in SoCal and in gH but as other outlets were reporting, a kid in NH. If they had double-checked their sources, they wouldn't have used someone seen as a laughing stock in the computer security community.

The patents with all the one-wheel scooter designs have been around for three days and many media outlets have reported it so far. But if you look at other links from this post, Slashdot and elsewhere people have actually dug deeper than a single document.

Of course every media outlet has their screwups. It's just that personally, Reuters is a continued screw-up in my eyes.
posted by bkdelong at 3:46 PM on January 12, 2001

Just in case you haven't seen it, boingboing has some good IT info, including a drawing from the patent that i haven't seen posted here.

This is all just too good to be true. How ever did we manage to get along without this woudrous machine-perosnal transportaion device?

This is my second metafilter post and boy does it feel good to be here. But you already knew that. Now I'm wondering if this post is too long.
posted by metascene at 5:00 PM on January 12, 2001

Whatever IT is, the marketing is already sweet.
posted by fullerine at 5:42 PM on January 12, 2001

The "core technology" of which the "unicycle" is just one application is f*cking flywheels!

Check it out:

A company named Acros Technologies advertised for a Market Research Manager last August. Acros Technologies is a spinoff of Deka Research (Dean Kamen's Company).

Stuck "Acros"in whois over at geektools.com and they registered flywheels.com and flywheels.org back on December 26, 2000.

340 Commercial St, the address of ACROS LLC the registrant of the two domains is also the address of Deka Research

Deka Research has also registered stirlingelectric.com

If that's a hoax, it's a good one.
posted by xiffix at 6:56 PM on January 12, 2001

The Acros LLC Company Profile. Check out the company logo. Company website will be at acrosllc.com
posted by xiffix at 7:15 PM on January 12, 2001

actually, meatscene, it's your 5th post. GOD!
posted by cell divide at 9:18 PM on January 12, 2001

For padding, I'd go with the Ursus Mark VI bear suit -- it's survived a crash test of sorts.
posted by dhartung at 11:29 PM on January 12, 2001

cell divide-- that's Mr. Meatscene to you fella.

heh, yeah, after i posted i checked my profile and learned that i had posted 4 other times. i probably said some really dumb stuff (complete with typos) and thought, "gee, i'd better not embarss myself anymore." but i'm ready to embarass myself again.

anyway, i'm pretty sure i want one. whatever IT is.

posted by metascene at 11:54 PM on January 12, 2001

Some say that Kamen names many of his inventions with acronyms (I.T. = "Independent Transporter" (?), F.I.R.S.T. = "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," etc.)...

What could G.I.N.G.E.R. stand for? (flash ahead)
posted by crunchland at 10:40 AM on January 13, 2001

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