Riders can use Honda's Uni-Cub by sitting down and leaning in the direction they wish to travel. This activates the electric motor, which then transports the rider to their desired destination.
Honda intends the Uni-Cub to function as a "personal mobility device," the end product of which may someday be of assistance to both the disabled and the public in general. The device can travel at up to 2.5 mph. The prototype weighs 40 pounds and can carry riders as heavy as 220 pounds. It is intended primarily for indoor use, but can be used outdoors as well.
Rather than making use of an operator's hands or feet, the Uni-Cub takes advantage of the entire body by responding to a shift in body weight. The rechargeable electronic motor then kicks in, moving the device in the appropriate direction. The device can switch directions while in motion or turn in place by using the smaller of its two wheels. A full charge allows the Uni-Cub to travel a total distance of 3.7 miles, and the lithium-ion battery lasts for about 90 minutes.
Honda has used the Uni-Cub's self-balancing technology before in its ASIMO robot. The technology is critical for the Uni-Cub, since a rider's feet are placed on the mounted footrests while the device is in use. Unlike several other personal mobility devices, the Uni-Cub does not include handlebars or armrests.