A glorified wheelchair or new age of getting around?

Having briefly touch on the Toyota iReal in my previous post about wearable transportation, I thought it would be only appropriate to write a full post about this wonderful looking gadget.

It’s been described as a Wall-E fatboy, a glorified wheelchair or an OAP mobility scooter, whatever you think about it you have to admit you would probably want one yourself. It is described as a 3-wheeled electrically powered one-passenger vehicle which runs on Lithium-Ion batteries (like the ones in your mobile phone).

The iReal has two modes. A low-speed one where it is in its upright position nearing average eye level and travels at walking pace. And a high speed mode where the single back wheel extends to lower the centre of gravity, improve stability and aerodynamics. In this mode, the iReal can travel up to 30km/h! In high speed mode the iReal leans into turns in a similar way to a motorcycle in order to improve balance and prevent it from tipping over.

Controlling the iReal are extremely simple, there are two joysticks (you can use either the left, right, or both) – push them forward to accelerate, left for left, right for right and back to brake. It’s also equipped with perimeter sensors that should be able to detect imminent collisions and warn you appropriately.

In the side panels are buttons and touch screens for the numerous different options available on the iReal. There is a wealth of social media available, for example it can tell you where the nearest coffee shop is to your location and get in touch with other iReals in the area and let them know what you are doing.

Although first revealed as a concept in  2007, Toyota plans to release this to the consumer market in 2010/2011 for about £2000. A hefty price tag but doesn’t it just look amazing?

iReal Hi and Low speed modes

Richard Hammond from Top Gear tests out the iReal

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