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Fall-arrest unicycle training system

Take the pain out of one-wheel transport
  [vote for,

Learning to ride a unicycle involves quite a bit of falling off.

This can be quite surprisingly painful ...

However, with the new BorgCo unicycle training system, grazed knees and bruised elbows are a thing of the past.

The system consists of three high-speed power winches, which can be mounted indoors (in a sports centre, perhaps) or outdoors (on specially constructed posts or towers.

The three winches form an equilateral triangle, and the cables join at a single point where a special connection fixture is attached. Descending from the fixture is a length of webbing, with a carabiner on the end. Also on the fixture is a ring of infrared transponders, pointing downwards; above, a multifaceted laser reflector.

The position of the fixture in x,y and z planes is constantly determined by pulsed scanning lasers fixed above the winch positions. This means the fixture can be triangulated with extreme accuracy.

The user wears a helmet with IR reflectors on the upper surface. This means the fixture can constantly and accurately determine the position of the user with respect to the fixture.

In operation, the user dons the helmet and a fall-arrest webbing harness. Pressing a button on the remote control causes the carabiner to be lowered so that it can be hooked onto the harness loop.

The would-be rider then pushes the "activate" button. The winches retract so as to remove all slack from the webbing, but not to place any tension on it.

The rider mounts the unicycle; their change of position is immediately detected, and the winches reel in further, keeping the webbing at the right length.

As the rider moves around, the winches reel in or out as required, always keeping the slack out of the link webbing, but never applying tension, the fixture always being positioned directly above the suspension point of the harness by coordinating the data from the lasers on the winches and the IR scanners aimed at the rider's hat, and possibly shoulder pads.

The rider is in fact unaware that the system is operating ... until they fall off.

At this point, the system is triggered by their sudden acceleration, and reels out - but slowly. The support strap goes taut, supporting the rider, but does not "snatch".

The unicycle crashes to the ground, and a few seconds later the rider is gently lowered onto their feet nearby, ready for another go.

8th of 7, Sep 18 2012


       Meanwhile, the MaxCo. Cathedral Unicycle Training Harness accomplishes something surprisingly similar by suspending the rider from a single strong cord attached to a hook on a very high ceiling.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2012

       Presumably the practice area has a suitably concave profile.   

       For a practice area 50m in diameter, and a depth on no more than 500mm in the centre, the tower is going to need to be quite a tall tower …
8th of 7, Sep 18 2012

       If you can get round a 50m diameter practice area, you probably don't need a safety harness.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2012

       It's that sort of offhand comment that can harm sales of a product …
8th of 7, Sep 18 2012

       I presume a Cathedral Unicycle is ridden by the bishop during solemn processions?
pocmloc, Sep 18 2012

       A little-known fact is that Pope Benedict XVI (known off-stage as Jo Ratzinger) trained as a juggler, stilt- walker, knife-thrower _and_ unicyclist in his 20s, and earned a living from these skills in the 1940s before entering the priesthood.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2012

       And I thought it was precisely the solemn precession that keeps the Cathedral unicycle stable.
tumblewit, Sep 18 2012

       Give that [tumblewit] a bun!
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 18 2012

       Ah yes, "The Amazing Ratzinger Brothers - a laugh, a gasp, and an antiquated and proscriptive theological doctrine …"   

       There will never again be anything like the German cabaret/cafe culture of the early 20th century. Thankfully.
8th of 7, Sep 18 2012

       Were any rain forests harmed during the creating of this idea?
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 18 2012

       Not yet, but there's still time to add that to the development plan.
8th of 7, Sep 18 2012

       I wonder if there is a chance of incorporating this with an idea I have for a unitandem?
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 18 2012

       Yes. Unfortunately.   

       Please read and sign the product disclaimer and wavier before use.
8th of 7, Sep 18 2012

       Next. The recumbent unicycle.
Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Sep 18 2012


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