Introducing soft mobility – poimo the inflatable electric scooter developed by Mercari R4D in collaboration with Kawahara and Niiyama labs from the University of Tokyo. poimo has a total weight of just 5.5k and is so compact that it can be folded into an average-sized backpack. The design uses soft robotic technology, resulting in a device that is soft, safe and lightweight enough for people to carry and to allow users to ride it on and off anywhere. In order to reduce the overall weight, a wireless/batteryless powering system has been developed.
poimo is made of a drop stitch material that is light and strong. The inflatable body is made from a thermoplastic polyurethane — the same strong material used in airbeds. The process of getting your scooter ready (inflating it and attaching its components) takes only 5 minutes max.
‘We envision soft mobility, which is a new type of personal mobility made of soft, lightweight, and inflatable materials,’
comments the poimo team.
‘A soft body enables safer user interactions with pedestrians and drivers; the lightweight and inflatable properties allow the users to easily carry it as a portable device, by deflating, folding, and packing it into, for example, a backpack. as embodiment of such soft mobility, we prototyped poimo (portable and inflatable mobility). to evaluate the poimo, we first conducted mechanical tests to verify that it can endure the weight of a human. we also measured the time needed to inflate / deflate it to demonstrate its property. finally, we reported on the preliminary results of riding on it, and clarified the requirements to further investigate and implement soft mobility transport.’