Electric scooters are all the rage – especially as we’re all trying to avoid public transport at the moment – but often only fold in half and can be bulky to store at home or in the office.
The answer to this, at least according to a team of researchers from the University of Tokyo, is an inflatable electric scooter.
Compact enough to fit inside a backpack and capable of inflating with an electric pump in under a minute, the scooter is called Poimo, which is short for Portable and Inflatable Mobility.
Unlike most other e-scooters, the Poimo is designed to be sat instead of stood on, and has four wheels instead of two, promising increased stability and making for a safer ride.
Those behind the vehicle say its design was inspired by the inflatable robot character Baymax from the Disney film Big Hero 6.
As well as making for a comfortable place to sit, the inflatable plastic body should be safer for pedestrians too, in the event of a collision. Although it can be inflated in under 60 seconds, the handles, wheels, battery and motor all need fitting each time the vehicle is used.
The scooter is the brainchild of researchers from the University of Tokyo, as well as design studio Takram and research organisation Mercari R4D.
Mercari R4D said: “Poimo redefines electric personal mobility by combining it with soft robotics, and we believe that its portability is key to providing a first- and last-mile mobility solution to seamlessly connect public transport with people’s final destinations.”
Although just a concept for now, those behind the Poimo are pushing forward to improve drivability, ease of other and other technical issues, as well as conducting market research and concept testing.