Prior to the pandemic, e-scooter startups were popping up everywhere, allowing people to rent them to move around freely over short distances.
Japan has taken this to the next level by unveiling an inflatable e-scooter compact enough to store in a commuter’s backpack.
It's called Poimo, short for "Portable and Inflatable Mobility", and it can be inflated in under a minute using an electric pump.
The e-scooter, built mostly with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), has 5 reliable, detachable components — 2 sets of wheels, an electric motor, a battery, and wireless controller handlebars.
While the product weighs only 5.5 kilograms, researches are still trying to reduce the overall weight for subsequent prototype releases.
The inventors of Poimo, who are researchers from Tokyo University, said that they wanted to create a vehicle that is safe, lightweight, and practical — suitable for the needs of the everyday busy city-person.
"We believe that our inflatable mobility, which is different from the existing mobility systems and creates new relationships with people, will be useful for the city in the future", mentioned Ryuma Niiyama, a Poimo development team member.
With Poimo, the future of portable mobility may be a commonplace, possibly even changing the fabric of society; assuming it gets approved for public use.