TOKYO (Web Desk) – With Japanese engineer Kuniako Saito’s new invention, ‘WalkCar’, walking could soon become a thing of the past. He’s describing his portable transportation device as the world’s first ‘car in a bag’.
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The WalkCar is about the size of a laptop, and is somewhat similar to a skateboard in terms of functionality. According to Saito, the gadget is very easy to use – just stand on it and it starts, step off it and it stops.
To change directions, users simply have to shift their weight towards the left or right. Uphill or downhill travel can be achieved by applying pressure forwards or backwards.
26-year-old Saito said that his fascination for electric motor car control systems inspired him to create the WalkCar. “I thought, ‘What if we could just carry our transportation in our bags, wouldn’t that mean we’d always have our transportation with us to ride on?’” he said.
“And my friend asked me to make one, since I was doing my masters in engineering specifically on electric car motor control systems.”
So he went ahead and started working on a prototype with his team at Cocoa Motors. They’re now planning to raise funds for the project by starting a Kickstarter campaign.
It’s definitely faster than walking, and parking is never a problem because the device easily fits into handbags or backpacks. Made from aluminum and powered by lithium batteries, the slender device comes in two versions – indoor and outdoor – weighing between 4.4 and 6.6 pounds.
It takes three hours of charging to get the device to run for 7.4 miles, at a top speed of 6.2 miles per hour. The thin aluminum transporter is apparently stronger than it looks, taking on loads of up to 120 kilograms.
We’ve seen other transportation devices in the past such as the Segway and Toyota’s Winglet, but none of them were as portable or convenient as the WalkCar, and Saito believes that makes his invention truly unique.
“Maybe I just see it that way, but it seems to me that the US is always the one which invents new products and Japan is the one which takes those products and improves on them to make a better version of it,” Saito said.
“But here in this case, the WalkCar is a totally new product I have started from scratch. So I also want to show the world that Japan can also be innovative.”
The WalkCar will be available for pre-order in October this year, through Kickstarter. Priced at around 100,000yen ($800), it is expected to start shipping by May next year.