Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology called U3-X, a compact experimental device that fits between the rider’s legs. U3-X provides free movement in all directions just as in human walking — forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally.
Honda will continue research and development of the device (vehicle?) including experiments in a real-world environment to verify its practicality, but has no immediate plans for production.
Honda has been conducting robotics research since 1986, and into walking assist devices as well, that TheDetroitBureau.com has tested. As with the others, U3-X, is under development at its Fundamental Technology Research Center in Wako, Saitama, Japan.
Human walking is actually the result of complex interactions developed over millions of years of evolution. Honda’s ongoing research in the area potentially opens up vast new markets that could easily be larger than its successful automobile and motorcycle businesses.
None of the clever machines shown thus far is a prosthetic, since they do not replace body parts, but rather they are supplemental aids to walking that could have wide commercial application in medical, industrial and freight sectors, to name just a few, since they are helpful during physically demanding activities.
It’s, well, “walking proof” of the serendipity that can come from advanced research. The company has applied for more than 130 patents for the devices.