Milton Teen Invents Electric Unicycle
Milton teenager Ben Gulak has taken the motorcycle world by storm with Uno, his electric unicycle. What started as a science fair project has turned into an international attention-grabber.
In a departure from so many of today's products that are designed in Canada (Blackberry) or the US (iPod) and then made in China, the need for the Uno was conceived of in China and turned into reality in Milton, Ontario.
For those of us looking to avoid the high prices at the pump, the barrier to ownership is a mere $6,000.
It was on a smog-filled trip to China that Ben realized his next invention had to have zero emissions. Armed with about $50,000 he literally went to the drawing board - he couldn't afford CAD software - and started tinkering in his garage. When Ben needed help turning design into reality, he found Motorcycle Enhancements in Oakville, a collaboration that led to the unique side-by-side wheel format and custom fibreglass body.
The Uno works much the same way as the popular Segway scooters. The motorcycle is propelled by leaning forward; the further you do so, the faster you go. Similarly, the driver simply leans back to slow down and leans left or right to steer those directions. The only control is an on/off switch. Top speed is around 60 kph, although it's only optimized for about 25 kph. Enough to get around town, at least.
The environmentally-friendly motorcycle was unveiled at Toronto's 2008 National Motorcycle Show, which led to it being featured in the May/June issue of Motorcycle Mojo. The response crippled the magazine's website, and now Uno has made headlines anew with its prominent feature on the cover of the current issue of Popular Science, in which it was named one of the top 10 inventions of the year.
Unlike many electric vehicles, this one not only bypasses the gas station for an electrical outlet, but it also is one sweet looking ride.
Photo from UnoCycle.
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