by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
awesome stuff, scooters

Awesome Stuff: People Powered Vehicles

from the step-step-kick dept

For this week's awesome stuff of interesting crowdfunding projects, we'll take a look at a few attempts to rethink people-powered vehicles. This is clearly a popular concept on Kickstarter as it was just a few months ago that we had a few more examples, but these are all new from that last one.
  • First up, we've got the Me-Mover, which looks like a cross between a step machine and a scooter. In some ways, it reminds me of elliptical bikes, but actually looks much smaller and more functional.
    The Me-Movers run about $1,000, which is not crazy compared to some of the alternatives, but also does seem like a lot to pay for a new style of transportation that you haven't tried yet. I'm actually intrigued about testing one out, and thinking about how it could be a good alternative to a bike in many scenarios, but it's difficult to justify plunking down so much money without being able to test it. Of course, it appears that many others have no such qualms, and the Me-Mover has raised over $200,000 (more than double its goal) with just about two days left in its campaign.
  • Next up is the Paperino, a traditional kick-scooter, but designed to match the style of the classic Vespa motorscooter. While this is still in the concept stage, I actually think these guys may run into legal issues with Piaggio, the makers of the Vespa. I notice that the Paperino team is careful to avoid naming Vespa anywhere, but the style cues are fairly obvious, and most of the scooters they show as their "inspiration" are Vespas. As cool as it looks, you'd think they'd be a bit more careful to not follow the Vespa's design so closely.
    Of course, with less than two weeks to go, the campaign is still around 15% of its £25,000 goal, meaning it's highly unlikely to get funded anyway -- so the legal issue may be meaningless.
  • These next two I'm going to lump together, as they're both similar... and in some ways equally ridiculous. They're both pontoon-based water vehicles with propellers. One is powered by a bicycle and the other by an elliptical. The the Seahorse Bicycle Powered Boat and the Aqua Elliptica (should be obvious how each is powered). Both look fairly bizarre, though, the Aqua Elliptica's presentation is at least moderately more professional.

    Of course, neither have any chance of being funded, at all. In fact, neither appears to have sold a single one of their devices. The Bicycle one will run you $3,999 while the elliptical is a relative bargain at $2,500. Between the two projects combined, they've barely received $200 total. So, yeah. If Kickstarter is market research, it would appear that the market is saying "no thanks" on both of these.

That's it for this week. Go for a walk the old fashioned way.

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  • identicon
    Jake, 26 Apr 2014 @ 10:49am

    I might fork out for one of those pedal-powered boats if they knocked a zero off the price tag, but for four grand I could buy a passable used cabin cruiser.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    zip, 26 Apr 2014 @ 2:15pm

    pavement diving

    The "Me-Mover" seems like a dangerously idiotic design. It's tiny front wheel, almost directly under the rider's center-of-gravity, is going to toss the rider face-first into the road whenever passing over anything much bigger than a sidewalk crack at anything much more than walking speed. Let's hope it's not capable of doing anywhere near bicycle speeds.

    The pavement-kissing principle is a reason why bicycles have always had large-diameter wheels, and I assume why scooters traditionally didn't have pedals. Something I don't quite understand, is that although bicycle makers always show riders wearing helmets, these dangerous kickstarter contraptions never do.

    At least Techdirt's last-month post of a similar price/similar design 3-wheeler, Halfbike ( ) had a somewhat-decently-sized front wheel -- still dangerous, but less so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rick Carufel (profile), 27 Apr 2014 @ 10:06am

    people powered machines.

    If you want to see some outrage' people powered machines google "Kinetic Sculpture race" These are all peoples powered racers that do a 26 mile course. It was started in Humboldt CA. But now there are races all over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Denver, 27 Apr 2014 @ 11:07am

    Yaba daba doo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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