A team of Japanese researchers and designers have built a soft, inflatable electric scooter for commuters that's lightweight and packs down small enough to fit into an ordinary backpack.

The device, called Poimo (short for Portable and Inflatable Mobility), can be inflated and ready to ride in under a minute using an electric pump – though that doesn't include time spent attaching the wheels, motor and battery.

Unlike the e-scooters currently taking over streets and sidewalks around the world courtesy of hire companies like Bird and Lime, Poimo has four wheels for stability and places the rider in a comfortable seated position. 

Poimo is also designed to be safer for fellow road and pavement users; its creators say that its soft body makes it safer for pedestrians in the even of a collision.

Softly does it

Poimo is still a prototype for now, but the team from the University of Tokyo, design studio Takram and research organization Mercari R4D have released a video showing it roaming the city's streets at an impressively brisk pace.

There's no word on when it will become a commercially available product, or how much it might cost, but that does seem to be the plan for Poimo.

The team say that the final version will be even lighter and more portable, and users will be able to customize its thermoplastic polyurethane body into different shapes to suit their preferred riding style.

Via Dezeen

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