Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Automobrella

The one-wheeled, riding umbrella
 
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This motorized version balances on its tire-covered rim to roll along like a twirling parasol. The angle and weight of its motor, battery and "Segware", suspended in the dome, are used to hold the rider stably seated on the shaft, 30 inches over the ground.

The clever uni-vehicle is controlled by the upward-pointing handle, and it executes turns by leaning to the right or left. A foldable Automobrella will be available by Christmas, for storage in an umbrella stand in the garage.

FarmerJohn, Feb 29 2004

sketch http://www.geocitie....html?1078051622437
[FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

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       so the handle turns too? might make your wrist ache somewhat!
po, Feb 29 2004
  

       No, po, though I guess you're pulling my leg.
FarmerJohn, Feb 29 2004
  

       Hmmm... tricky. Unlike your Orb-It, this one has only fore-aft correctability, which would make side-to-side balancing a real problem.
RayfordSteele, Feb 29 2004
  

       Yes, I was thinking the internal machinery would pivot upwards, towards the umbrella’s point, to correct for a heavier rider or to turn right and vice versa.
FarmerJohn, Feb 29 2004
  

       No, that won't do the trick, as it counts as an internal force which won't be able to relocate the center of gravity of the sum of the system. All that would happen is that the relocation of the machinery would cause a reactionary force against the rest of the umbrella, and no net CG change. There needs to be a reactionary force against an external system, like the ground.
RayfordSteele, Feb 29 2004
  

       I see, you mean balancing the center of gravity of the whole system over the "tire". That would demand movement in a curving path like a unicycle, though preferably continuous movement in the same direction, not back and forth.
FarmerJohn, Mar 01 2004
  

       //it executes turns by leaning to the right or left//   

       Are you SURE thats the best way to turn? I know at speed, some traction deficiencies can be made-up for because of the gyroscopic effect of the large turning mass. And at least the Segway mover has two wheels. Don't get me wrong - you still get a bun from me, but seems a little perilous ...
Letsbuildafort, Mar 01 2004
  
      
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