Japanese university develops Robo-Skateboard

Earlier today, we’ve covered Honda’s U3-X, and now we bring you another mobility robot from Japan. What we have here is a robotic skateboard, which was developed by the Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo. And no, it’s not really a fun project. That DIY Segway skateboard is about to get some serious competition.

The current Robo-Skateboard prototoype weighs 15kg, is 30cm wide, 60cm long and 25cm tall. Its speed and direction can be controlled by shifting your body weight. For example, when you put your weight on either one of your feet, the skateboard will automatically accelerate. There are load sensors on all four corners of the board, motors (and wheels) on the sides and a control computer unit in the middle.

The research team at Shibaura says the Robo-Skateboard can travel as fast as 10kph and is suitable for riders weighing up to 80kg. You can use it continuously for about an hour on a single charge.

The developers plan to reduce the robot’s weight and push down its price to about $1,000 before trying to mass-produce and bring it to market by 2013, probably in cooperation with a toymaker.

Via The Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]