TOKYO—Here's a scooter worth getting pumped about.
Japanese research institute Mercari R4D and the University of Japan are jointly developing a portable scooter with an inflatable body made from thermoplastic polyurethanes.
The project began in January 2019 and the groups already have unveiled a prototype called Poimo—coined from "portable and inflatable mobility."
The scooter is designed to be used during the last leg of a trip. Poimo can be folded to fit in a backpack to carry along. It inflates in a few minutes to an optimal operating pressure of 6 to 7 PSI. Drop stitch TPU fabrics make the body both light and strong, the university said.
The body weighs five pounds and the whole scooter—including rubber wheels, a small motor and a wireless controller—weighs 12 pounds. The researchers are looking to reduce the weight and make the product safer, more durable and easier to drive.