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Prototype inflatable Poimo eBike fits in a backpack

by Mark Tyson on 13 May 2020, 13:11

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Researchers from the University of Tokyo have been looking at 'soft mobility' solutions to address the well known 'last-kilometre problem' inherent to public transport. A prototype transportation device dubbed the 'Poimo' (POrtable and Inflatable MObility) has been made and tested, with preliminary results provided at the recent ACM CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing. In brief, the Poimo is an inflatable eBike that can fit in a moderately sized backpack.

Soft Mobility has a particular appeal in crowded cities where the soft, lightweight, and inflatable vehicles enable safer interactions with other road users, particularly pedestrians. If it gains market traction, vehicles like the Poimo could reduce sidewalk clutter too.

You can see the Poimo in action in the video embedded above. The ideal use case is as follows. A person has left the train or bus station, but there is no means of transport to their final destination other than by foot. So, they take out the Poimo and inflate it before zooming off to comfortably complete their journey. The Poimo is designed to be easily deflated and packed away again once you get where you were going.

Some product and technical details of the Poimo have been shared:

  • Made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
  • Optimal operating pressure (both stable and comfortable to sit on) to 40 or 50kPa (6 or 7psi) - about half the pressure a football is usually inflated to.
  • Inflated structure is 2.3kg.
  • Total weight including wheels, brushless motor, battery, and a wireless controller is 5.5kg.

There are plenty of opportunities to optimise the prototype and while it is already claimed to be functional and fun to ride, it is aimed to increase portability (make it lighter for example), as well as refine comfort and safety. Nothing has been said about the range of the Poimo, however. Further attention will be paid to social feasibility and pricing concerns. Eventually vehicles like Poimo should be more cost effective than existing alternatives.

Source: ACM Digital Library via IEEE Spectrum



HEXUS Forums :: 16 Comments

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HEXUS
solutions to address the well known ‘last-kilometre problem’ inherent to public transport
What, you mean ‘feet’?
Nature already solved that problem, with the added benefit of helping to keep your weight down. They* even advocate getting off one or two stops early and walking the rest of the way, because we're getting too fat!

Meanwhile, you have this expensive inflatable thing which any scrote could easily puncture if they felt like it (yes, stabbing it for a laugh was indeed my first thought), which requires a mains pump to inflate to operating pressure, which requires a moderately sized rucksack (looks about 35 litres, there) thus negating any carrying capacity you might require… and which will probably bounce off surroundings in the event of an accident, making it even more dangerous that a solid-framed vehicle.

I can see the use for something along these lines, purely for those with actual mobility issues and I'd certainly applaud that… but for the able-bodied that this seems marketed toward I think a good kick in their lazy pants is all that's really needed.















*Them in this instance being governments, doctors, healthcare professionals and such.
Having witnessed many an electric wheelchair / mobility scooter accident (to the point where I saw one modified with a bumper made of a scaffold pole), I believe ALL mobility scooters should be bouncy castles with wheels.

It'd mean that if I didn't dive out of the way in time, the injuries would be less crippling.

EDIT: And one reason I don't use public transport is due to mobility issues. This wouldn't help me as I'd have to carry the damn thing.

Now, what it would do is enable me to use a car rather than a motorcycle as I'd be able to park in the car park at work, pump this up using the car engine to power the pump and then ride it the stupid distance into work. The motorcycle gets parked right outside. Unfortunately, I think the selfish gits are building a children's hospital on top of my space. I've told them and told them but it's as if they don't care.
philehidiot
I believe ALL mobility scooters should be bouncy castles with wheels.
It'd mean that if I didn't dive out of the way in time, the injuries would be less crippling.
It'd also mean bouncing off the lamp post they just hit, into the wall and then off in some random direction, knocking over several people in the process… rather than just hitting the lamp post and falling over.

philehidiot
EDIT: And one reason I don't use public transport is due to mobility issues. This wouldn't help me as I'd have to carry the damn thing.
Very good point.

philehidiot
Now, what it would do is enable me to use a car rather than a motorcycle
But… why would you ever want to do this?

philehidiot
Unfortunately, I think the selfish gits are building a children's hospital on top of my space. I've told them and told them but it's as if they don't care.
Park your bike next to your desk. That usually gets the message across!! :D
Haha that gave me a big smile.
And i will also have to agree with Ttaskmaster, it seem like today using your feet are off the table, literally people will adorn helmets gloves and what not and then jump on a stupid mono wheel contraption.

Okay its their money ASO, but i reserve the rights to laugh my ass off while i shake my head and mumble “kids today”

When i was 11 i climbed on a 10 speed racer and dident look back, and back then i did 100 KM in a day just for fun, and 200 KM if i wanted to see new stuff.
Okay the latter did mean that i spent 12 hours in the saddle cuz while i did pedal a lot the speed was never “PRO” like.
Regarding conventional use of the feet, well as a kid during the summer break from school ( 5 weeks or something ) i could literally wear a set of sneakers up so there was a hole in the sole.
And its not there cuz i was dragging my feet like some politician.
Ttaskmaster
It'd also mean bouncing off the lamp post they just hit, into the wall and then off in some random direction, knocking over several people in the process… rather than just hitting the lamp post and falling over.

Boioioioioing. The funniest I've seen was the woman who hit the “go fast now” button and rammed into a table. Then apologised, tried to reverse and smashed the table again (sending it to table heaven), then apologised, did it again, ramming the remains of the table into the seats in front, tipping them over and causing the elderly couple to leap up or go flying. It was funny as no one got hurt.

Ttaskmaster
But… why would you ever want to do this?

I get wet occasionally, so maybe the wet wouldn't be so wet in a car. But generally I despise cars and find driving them exceptionally stressful.

Also, when going shooting, a bike is not the preferred means of transporting weapons and ammo (although it has been used).

Ttaskmaster
Park your bike next to your desk. That usually gets the message across!! :D

When I first started at my current job, I got utterly bollocked for putting my helmet on a desk. So I zipped up my trousers in a huff and asked her what I was expected to do with it.