Propelled by electric motors, electric unicycles have a single wheel and are self-balancing. Unicycles of this sort are thought of as personal transport, given their ability to handle a single rider. They run in a similar fashion to a Segway because the rider's own movements are what dictate the direction and the speed of the wheel. The vehicle will go faster or slower simply by leaning either backwards or forward. Electric unicycles are capable of going upwards of 20 mph, or 32 km per hour. Shifting weight toward the right or the left will cause the vehicle to go in that same direction, as is the case when steering skateboards. The self-balancing function of the vehicle makes use of accelerometers as well as gyroscopes.
Lots of different frame variations are available on electric unicycles. Perhaps the most common is the type made of a single wheel in which the motor, gyroscopes, a rechargeable battery and other electronic components are contained right in the middle. Such a model will also have a pair of flat pedals on each side of the wheel, and this is where the rider places his or her feet. Ther are also electric unicycles with integrated seats or saddles that give riders a place to sit. Others will offer handlebars that offer a place to grip while riding.
While traditional manual cycles were often seen in festivals and circus performances, electric unicycles such as those sold by myEwheel provide a whole new mode of easily portable transportation that can make sense in urban areas where the navigation of heavy traffic and a need for quick, affordable movement are paramount.
Historical Background Of Electric Unicycles
Pinning down the true history of electric unicycles is not as straightforward as one might think, given that these vehicles may have emerged from a range of different precursors. Many believe that single-wheel velocipedes introduced by Frederick Myers are the real prototype of current electric unicycles. However, those required foot pedal-power in order to move.
Others believe that the monowheel is the true forerunner of the modern electric unicycle. These are essentially vehicles featuring a single track wheel, but the difference is that the rider will sit either beside or inside the wheel itself. It is thought that electric unicycles came from monowheels, largely because these modes of transport were designed to be self-balancing with a single wheel. In the end, the 1869 Flying Yankee Velocipede of Richard C. Hemmings is widely considered the true predecessor of the electric unicycle. It is worth noting that the monowheel also represents the first single-wheeled vehicle that used electricity for power. The 1932 Dynasphere is the first single wheel electric-powered vehicle. Of course, both monowheels and unicycles were initially developed for the purposes of recreation and entertainment and not as actual modes of transportation.
More recently, the Segway has gained attention, and many believe it serves as an inspiration for further innovation in the electric unicycle realm. Segways were patented starting in 1994, but commercial availability did not begin until 2001. These are thought to be forerunners of electric unicycles mainly because they use similar technology. The primary difference is that Segways have two wheels, compared to the electric unicycle's single wheel design. Notably, however, they share a similar method of operation.
In the end, electric unicycles are vehicles that use electricity for power, feature a monowheel that is self-balancing, or essentially, a Segway with just one wheel. Regardless of its origins and evolution, modern electric unicycles are meant to be used as personal transport vehicles that are great for urban commutes. They have moved beyond the realm of hobbyists and circus performers and offer tremendous utility. Modern versions of these vehicles are fast-charging, portable, quicker and easier to use than ever before.
How Do Electric Unicycles Operate?
Electric unicycles are fitted with a rather simple design made up of an electric motor linked to the wheel rim, a motherboard, gyroscopes, an accelerometer, and a rechargeable battery. As is the case with other electric vehicles, these unicycles move via an electric motor that uses a rechargeable battery for its power sources. But, rather than hitting a remote control as is often the case with electric skateboards, or activating a throttle in the case of an electric scooter, is the rider's own body movements that spark acceleration or produce deceleration an initiate directional changes on an electric unicycle. The cycle's motherboard will select the incline angle and tells the rotor whether it needs to be spinning backwards or forward at a given moment. When a rider leans forward, the motherboard sees this as an instruction to go forward, accelerate, and the like. When the rider's body changes its movements, it detects the adjustment and appropriately changes the vehicle's velocity and speed. Backward leaning by the rider or a shift of weight toward the back will cause the vehicle to slow.
Electric unicycles self-balance by way of the accelerometers and gyroscopes with which they are equipped. Gyroscopes are essentially rotating discs that adjust orientation on their own without reference to tilting or similar movements. These calculate and maintain angular speed and positioning. The unicycle's rotor keeps on its rotational axis no matter how the outer wheel is positioned. As such, the rotor spin will automatically slow during directional turns. In a free-fall situation, the vehicle's accelerator will slow the entire device so that the vehicle does not increase its speed due to gravitational pull.
Because it is an electric-powered vehicle, this type of unicycle uses an integrated braking system that uses regenerative braking. Thus, the brake is activated by having the motor's rotor spin backwards to counteract forward propulsion. As the brake is used, the backward rotation will produce electricity that serves to charge the battery.
How To Use Electric Unicycles
Practice Makes Perfect — If you want to become an electric unicycle rider, it is essential that you practice often. Beginning to ride and drive these vehicles can be tough at first since the force that changes direction and controls speed is channelled into a single wheel. As such, it can be hard to learn steering. But, with dedicated practice, it is possible to master the skills in a couple of weeks.
Honing Balance — Though electric unicycles are self-balancing, it is still vital that you get the hang of balancing your body as you ride. Movements of the body will produce an associated movement within the unicycle, so you need to have a good command of your body's ability to balance in order to successfully ride.
Proper Gear — It is crucial that you use appropriate safety equipment, and this includes knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet. Novice riders run the risk of falling, and it is, therefore, wise to take all possible precautions to guard against injury. Do not skimp on purchasing the gear necessary to keep yourself safe, especially in the early days of riding.
Fitness Level — Those who wish to ride electric unicycles should possess a certain level of physical fitness. Beginners have a high likelihood of getting off balance and falling, and thus it is better if new riders have a fitness level that will help them break falls and protect their body from severe harm.
Riding Electric Unicycles
In order to ride your electric unicycle, you must first activate the switch. Use your dominant-side foot on the pedal so that once both feet are on, the cycle sits between the legs. Now, raise the other foot and affix it to the alternate pedal. There are some who choose to gently push the vehicle forward, as this small amount of motion helps them achieve balance faster. Other riders like to keep the dominant foot slightly toward the back because they find this assists with balance. It really is up to individual preference and comfort level.
As both feet are brought to the pedals, it becomes possible to spark motion by moving the body. Lean backwards and forward to slow and hasten the equipment. To turn left or right, simply lean and shift your weight in the direction you wish to go. Based on the amount of weight that is shifted, the turn will either be sharp or wide.
As you begin to truly ride the electric unicycle, you must make an effort to keep the body in a relaxed posture and avoid becoming rigid or still. This helps you feel the rhythm of the vehicle and bring your movements into sync with it. Bending the knees slightly can help foster stability, and you can also squeeze your knees together a bit to cushion the bumps and jolts you feel from the road surface. Absorbing shock in this way is important because it will make your journeys much more enjoyable. To have an even easier experience, consider purchasing an electric unicycle equipped with its own seat and a set of handlebars. Doing so will provide you with an even greater level of support and will facilitate a sure and steady ride.
Electric unicycles are an innovative and exciting way to travel in highly congested urban centres. The convenience they offer is unrivalled, and with a little bit of knowledge and practice, almost anyone can learn to enjoy riding them.