Although this sounds like a crazy concept, Velofeet (a unicycle with no pedals) could help to improve mobility and independence in those who find getting out and about difficult.
Velofeet is lightweight and manoeuvrable, and is powered in a similar way to a standard bike; with the rider’s legs. However unlike a standard bike, Velofeet seats and supports the rider in an upright position, where they can quickly build momentum using the natural movements of their body. By leaning to the side they can change direction and breaks are initiated when they lean back. Velofeet can reach a top speed of ‘jogging pace’ but the inventor states that with practice it may be able to go faster.
Velofeet could help improve quality of life for many people, such as those with reduced mobility, difficulties with balance or those who experience fatigue from walking. Although there are many mobility aids already available such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters, in some cases people can become too reliant on them and lose independence and physical ability as a result. However Velofeet combats this, by keeping those with reduced mobility as independent and active as possible.
Velofeet also has many other potential uses, such as reducing congestion in cities, and for use in sports like basketball or football to aid those with reduced mobility.
It is hoped that Velofeet will be available to buy in a few years’ time. It certainly seems like a great compromise between a standard bicycle and other mobility aids such as mobility scooters to help everyone remain mobile, independent and as active as possible.
Adie Blanchard – Researcher