Can anyone identify this vehicle?

At around 3:45 in this video (work safe) you can see someone riding what appears to be a motorized unicycle. But haven ridden a unicycle myself, I don’t understand how you would keep your balance without pressure on the pedals. Also he appears to brakes on the down side of the ramp while his arms are in the air.

Can someone identify this contraption for me? At these kinds of events I would think there are a lot of home-made things around, but this one seems to have a factory made fender. Thanks.

It looks like a “simple” motorized monocycle. If the wheel is turning at even a medium speed, the gyroscopic effect will keep it steady. You wouldn’t have to have your feet on the pedals to keep it standing up or to move it. I imagine that your feet on the pedals essentially keeps you in the upright position, however, providing some resistance for the motor. It’s pretty cool, I’d say. jAnd I don’t know why a home inventor couldn’t use a nice, factory made fender for his gizmo.

A much better link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz8j8EC9Q0c#t=3m40s

Use the “#t” code to jump to where you want to start.

I was all “WTF is this guy talking about?” until then.

Here is a video of Mythbuster Adam Savage trying out a modern self-powered unicycle made by Focus Designs.

I believe it’s a one-off. Look at the craftsmanship of the dual engine motorcycle that follows.

There is no way that wheel is rotating fast enough to have a substantial gyroscopic effect

I could ride a bike that slow. It doesn’t take much. The mass of the wheel also plays a part in it as well as where it is located in relation to the center.

You can ride a regular unicycle that slow, too. Doesn’t mean it’s gyroscopic forces holding it up…

Interesting, thanks for the links. I understand that gyro stabilized technology is fairly common now (Segway) but I’m wondering if it was in the mid 50’s. If this guy built a one off he really blew a chance at a money making patent.

Regarding the gyro effect of the wheel. It only applies to the side to side effect. It would have no bearing on falling forward or backward. While riding a unicycle, if you remove your feet from the pedals while in motion you will quickly fall either frontwards or backwards.

Just happened upon this vid:

http://www.wimp.com/theenicycle/

Updated technology, but the same overall concept. Don’t know about your 50’s guy and multiple gyroscopes, though.

Neither the segway nor the enicycle are held up by gyroscopes. Using a gyroscope to hold something the size of a segway and rider upright would require a relatively massive gyroscope, and that would be a waste of energy. The gyroscopes in a segway are simply instruments that give the computer precise realtime measurements of lean angles. The enicycle sounds the same.

Riding a bike, especially riding a bike slowly, is not influenced by the gyroscope effect.

Aside from the fact that you’re entering into an airplane-on-a-treadmill scale debate, this is not quite true. The physicist who built the bike with counter-rotating wheels (to counteract the gyroscopic forces, proving that it could still be ridden) actually did acknowledge that there is a small influence from the gyroscopic effect. For example, riding with no hands uses the gyroscopic effect to assist in steering.