Not very long ago, human beings’ main form of transportation was an eco-friendly one: The horse. It ran on grass, and its “emissions” fertilized future patches of grass, creating a circular fuel system.
Japanese product designer Shunji Yamanaka points out another benefit of horse-based transportation: Companionship. “In the past, [horses were] a partner of people and also a vehicle.” In an admittedly strange bid to recreate this relationship, Yamanaka has developed an electric scooter, the CanguRo, that he envisions as both transportation and a partner. “As a partner robot, it never leaves the side of its master,” he writes. “It transforms into a vehicle that augments its master’s physical functions—motional and sensory—and travels with the master as one.”
It’s an interesting concept, but I think it would be more useful if it could carry lots of things, like a pack mule. I’d like to see a design outfitted with storage/hauling platforms or compartments.
The CanguRo was developed in collaboration between Yamanaka and fuRo, Japan’s Future Robot Technology Research Center.