Monday, September 18, 2006

Bombardier Embrio: One-wheeled Wonder

Ok, the Bombardier Embrio isn't a motorcycle, but it'll let you wheelie forever, so it deserves a place here! :-)

Bombardier introduced the first snowmobile back in 1942, and for the last 65 years, they’ve never stopped innovating – with trains, airplanes, watercraft and ATVs. This time, it’s the Embrio, which has been designed to whisk you through crowded city streets. Er, on one wheel.

The Embrio has been conceptualized by the Montreal-based Bombardier Recreational Products (a spinoff of the aviation-focused parent company), and uses hydrogen fuel-cell technology for propulsion. Its system of gyroscopes keeps it upright on one wheel when it’s on the move, though in standby mode, a pair of extra wheels automatically deploy to keep the Embrio from tipping over.

You can watch an animated video here, but there's no working prototype yet. Comparisons with the vaguely similar Segway machines is inevitable, but when asked about what he thought of the Embrio, Doug Field, Segway's vice-president of design, only said that ‘I respect the design and the flow of the Embrio, but there is a difference between that and a working prototype.’

The main difference between the Segway machines and the Embrio (if it’s ever made!), as far as potential users are concerned, would be that the Embrio would be much heavier and significantly faster than the Segway machines. Let’s see how this one pans out in the next few months…!

Top speed is expected to be in the region of 60km/h, and the front wheel automatically comes down when the Embrio is parked. Cool!

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