Eight Japanese designers from the University of Tokyo designed the Poimo, one of the most interesting electric motorcycle models that we have come across recently. It is an inflatable electric scooter that is easy to carry thanks to its versatility that successfully hits the personal mobility vehicle market in May.
As the name suggests, Poimo (POrtable and Inflatable MObility) consists of several interconnected inflatable parts, driven anywhere thanks to an electric motor, and can be folded and put into a backpack or vice versa.
As if that weren’t enough, the electric scooter, the developers, have recently launched a custom-fit version, which can be tailored to the user’s body and riding style simply by taking a picture of the riding gesture they imagine.
In the latest version of Poimo (POrtable and Inflatable MObility), users start by taking a series of photos of themselves in the desired seating position. Using those images, special software then builds a 3D computer model of the scooter, custom-designed to accommodate a rider of its size, in their preferred posture.
As changes are made, the software automatically adjusts the overall design so that its strength, stability, and operability are not compromised. Once the model is finalized, it would be sent to the manufacturer (or at least if the system were to be used in the real world). The actual scooter would then be made from a relatively hard plastic fabric, in seven separate inflatable sections, including the wheels, but obviously not the electronic components.
Using the proposed method, the research team actually made multiple prototypes of electric motorcycle type and manual wheelchair type Poimo. The electric bike type is made by combining seven inflatable structures, including wheels. It is powered by a small brushless motor and a lithium-ion battery. The Poimo motorcycle has a top speed of 6km/h, works for about 1 hour on a single charge, and weighs only about 9 kg.
The manual wheelchair type is made by combining five inflatable structures, including wheels. Since it is manual, no motor or battery is installed. The total weight is about 6.5 kg, which is about half the weight of a normal wheelchair.
Poimo was developed in collaboration with the Japanese technology company mercari R4D and will be presented at the UIST 2020 online conference. In the future, the research team plans to further reduce the weight, improve operability, evaluate the safety, and work on demonstration experiments for practical use and popularization.