[Nick Thatcher]’s Plan-B Is A Commuter Electric Unicycle

[Nick Thatcher] is a serial builder of self-balancing rides. His various Segway clones and unicycles have until now suffered from one significant problem, that of portability when not being ridden. Taking one on a train was a significant undertaking, hardly convenient in a personal transport machine.

His latest design, the Plan-B, is an electric unicycle designed to address this problem to create a truly portable piece of commuter transport. It has been designed to be as compact as possible with the ability to fold to fit in a confined space, and the weight has been reduced to a minimum.

Power comes from a 24V 350W geared motor kept on a leash through a Dimension Engineering motor controller by an Arduino with a gyro to maintain the unit’s stability The battery is an ULTRAMAX LiFePO4 , and the single wheel is an inexpensive plastic wheelbarrow part with chain drive from the motor.

The result is both rideable and portable, though with a 10mph top speed not the fastest of personal transport. He’s posted a video which you can see below the break, showing him taking it on a train journey and traversing the British urban landscape.

We’ve covered [Nick]’s work before here at Hackaday, his Segway clone, and a previous unicycle. His website uses a file sharing service behind his domain name, so it’s worth linking to its top level here in case the URL linked above changes in the future. Finally, his code came from a site he recommends  to anyone interested in self-balancing machines, [John Dingley]’s OneWheeled.

19 thoughts on “[Nick Thatcher]’s Plan-B Is A Commuter Electric Unicycle

  1. new version of the thinker ?

    or more compact city toilet ?

    For sure it´s gonna revolutionize urban transport !
    Thank you Kackaday, life would be so Engadget without you !

  2. My neighbor once converted a Bobby Car (kiddie stroller) to electric. That thing hit 20mph (and did so within 1.5 seconds), ran 5 miles on a charge and recharging to 85% took 1 hour. The battery had double the size of a big laptop battery. The whole thing was small and lightweight enough to carry under your arm. It was a hell lot of fun to ride.
    It only lacked 3 things: Brakes, a stereo and a Larson Scanner.
    He actually used it for commuting for a while.

  3. Well thanks, this again kicked me into thought about portable transport, and however nifty unicycles are, how suboptimal they are, and now I have to design the ultimate folding bicycle to end all folding bicycles, see you in 3 years and $50,000 … … …

    1. Plus, when are we getting that neural to super high speed 3D printer interface for hyperrapid prototyping? Erector set just isn’t going together fast enough today…. plus it was just a gangly 10th scale thing that didn’t really tell me much more than the back of envelope scribble.

  4. #1 Great job looks great. I realy like the layout and how it folds or unfolds.
    #2 It looked like you need air int the tier.
    #3 It sounded like it was struggling to move.

    I couldnt tell was there a led headlight?

    I like it a lot.

    1. That’s a fairly fast jog speed… the issue is control and braking in crowded environment/traffic to go much faster… yes we saw a uni doing 30mph (?) the other day, but it didn’t stop very short.

  5. it would really be interesting to see in what way he believes he can ride this around public footways or roads.
    i doubt any of the footage shown was on private land with permission.

      1. based on previous ‘related’ products you just do #1 and let the customer deal with the consequences.
        nobody in government here is interested in allowing segways on pavements or roads which is probably a good idea.
        I suppose there is an argument that they could be allowed on cycle paths or something but cyclists are a moany bunch so good luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s