When George Lucas’ animation team creates the fantastic vehicles in the Star Wars films, they can selectively ignore the laws of physics. In the movies, they can depend on non-existent engineering artifacts such as antimatter power generators and antigravity fields to make the vehicles do incredible things. Now students at Adelaide University in Southern Australia have developed a 2-wheeled vehicle with the single rider seated between immense side-by-side wheels. Think of a Segway that encapsulates the rider. This project has taken at least three years, so far.
The video below shows you how inherently unstable such a vehicle is. Without active damping, the rider is likely to get seasick quite quickly. Then the design team exercises a bit more System Realization expertise and adds a control system that dampens the wild oscillations, transforming this personal Ferris Wheel into a viable personal transport.
Here’s the video: