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The Honda Uni-One Is a Cute and Very Smart Motorized Chair for Work or Leisure

You can’t or shouldn’t reinvent the wheel, but what about a new take on the age-old office chair? In case the world is ready to banish walking for good, Honda Japan is proposing a product like the Uni-One, a motorized smart chair.
The Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impaired 10 photos
The Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impairedThe Honda Uni-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impaired
The Uni-One from Honda Japan is an updated version of the Uni-Cub the same company introduced in 2012. This time, Honda is looking into bringing it into production phase, as a hands-free personal mobility solution that would have multiple applicability in both the professional and leisure field. In short, you could use it as an office chair you would no longer have to get out of to head into the conference room, for your own personal amusement, or as a personal mobility solution.

Considering the many ills that come with a full-time desk job, you’d think wanting to spend even more time seated would be the last thing on a hypothetical list of priorities. But reducing the Uni-One to just that – the potential futuristic product that would render walking obsolete – would be missing the point: this is an experimental mobility device with huge potential for the physically impaired.

It is precisely this potential that has earned Uni-One the Good Design Gold Award at the 2022 Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award, with the jury praising the sense of freedom it would bring about. “It has a non-intimidating design that fits in anywhere, creating a presence that does not feel uncomfortable or stressful for both the rider and the people walking with them. The popularization of this product is an extremely high-impact and challenging invention, development, and design that also presents the possibility of changing the structure and landscape of society,” the jury ruled in naming it a winner.

The Honda Uni\-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impaired
The Uni-One moves much like a hoverboard, by detecting the body movements of the person sitting down – the rider, as Honda puts it. It has two modes, a lower one in which the big wheels retract and four prop arms come out, and a higher mode for travel, which is activated when the user sits down or, respectively, at the touch of a button. Movement is done either by balancing the body or by means of a joystick, which is useful when the system detects an error.

The chair uses proprietary balance control technology from the robotics department and the Honda Omni Traction Drive System wheel mechanism, which allows free movement forward, backward, left, right and diagonally. No specifics are offered on the motor(s) or battery capacity, but this is clearly not a personal mobility device designed for speed. Instead, the focus is on comfort and stability, and an intuitive experience, where the Uni-One detects and then learns from the natural movement of the body of the rider.

The height of the cushioned seat is also adjustable. Honda notes that the Uni-One is so smart that it knows when to stop elevating the seat once the rider has reached eye level with the interlocutor, thus avoiding the feeling of being looked down on for the rider. The wheels are clad in thick rubber, ensuring smooth transition over different surfaces and even potential bumps. That said, Honda doesn’t say whether the chair would be of any use outside.

In case of a system error, the Uni-One will automatically go to the lower position and switch to full manual control, so it won’t topple over. Because it is so smart, operation of it comes easy to anyone, whether the elderly or children.

The Honda Uni\-One is a motorized smart chair for work or leisure, with incredible potential for the physically impaired
In October this year, Honda Japan launched a Uni-One demonstration experiment at Suzuka Circuit Park in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture. “By having customers and theme park operators actually use it, we will extract the necessary functions and improvement items and reflect them in future development,” the team says.



Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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