Monday, January 27, 2014

Ryno One-Wheeled Electric Motorcycle

Wired reports: [edited]

It takes a special kind of magic to make an electric one-wheeled motorcycle not terrifying to ride, and Ryno Motors has pulled it off. The microcycle, which has a single 25-inch motorcycle tire and reaches speeds up to 10 mph, uses a combination of gyroscope sensors and accelerometers to balance itself.

Rather than use a hand-throttle like a motorcycle, you juice the Ryno simply by leaning forward as you would on a Segway. Leaning forward on the handlebars forces the sensor-balanced wheel to adjust its position for balance, which propels you forward. Braking is as easy as leaning back, but there's also a hand brake if you'd rather slow down that way.

The Ryno is able to handle inclines up to a 20-percent grade, so it's largely San Francisco-friendly. It also takes about six hours to charge up fully using a 12-volt DC charger. That gives it a range of about 10 miles or an hour per charge at top speed. Real-world usage - stopping, starting, and going more slowly - will probably yield quite a bit more than that.

It's hard to describe what it feels like to ride the Ryno, but the main takeaway is it's much easier and safer than it seems. The vehicle balances itself without a hitch, and getting the hang of leaning forward and backward to accelerate and decelerate takes only a few seconds.

Indeed, The self-balancing skills of the Ryno are impressive to the point of being miraculous. With the vehicle turned on and no one seated on it, Hoffmann pushed down as hard as he could on the handlebars while standing in front of it. It didn't even budge on its single wheel as the gyro and motion sensors kicked in. Of course you can still tip it over from side to side fairly easily, but your legs are there for stabilisation.

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