Helix

The concept

The Helix is an electric personal transporter similar to the Segway but equipped with an ergonomic kneeling seat that features suspension. It is designed to cover distances between 10 and 30 km on a single charge.

The background

My goal was to offer an individual kneel-down vehicle capable of moving people in different areas; on campuses, sidewalks, through underground tunnels, etc. I wanted the Helix to be a clean and silent electric vehicle, narrow enough to ride on bike paths. The Helix could do all of this at a speed of over 25 kph. It would be capable of climbing small hills and comfortably move you around streets or even outback trails without taking up much space.

How it works

The Helix could be developed as a variation of the popular Segway personal transporter. An Ergonomic seat / kneeling chair would be installed on the unit’s base and spring-loaded suspension would absorb shocks from the road. The pilot would still need to tilt his position slightly forward or backward so the vehicle moved in the desired direction. If the seat and pilot are aligned with the center of gravity, the vehicle would remain in place, just like on a Segway.

To turn left or right, the pilot would lean the handlebars in the desired direction. The pilot would also be able to lean his body whilst riding and feel the thrill of the ride close to the ground. In case the Helix loses power, a front skid plate integrated in the steering (not shown) could absorb the shock and prevent the vehicle from flipping forward. The height of the vehicle’s ground clearance could also be adjusted depending on whether you are riding on a flat or rocky surface.

The Helix is similar to a prototype I built in 2008. However, I think this seat position and the lean-steer handlebars would make it more enjoyable because of its higher viewpoint, seating position and lean-steer mechanism. It could be used as an electric mode of transportation. The Helix should be priced to be competitive with other modes of transportation. One way to reduce cost could be to offer incremental battery packs (6 packs per vehicle) and sign government deals to eliminate legal barriers to operate them in fleet.

The designer

I would like to thank Luke Gonzalez who created the images for the Helix. Luke is based in Willimantic, CT, U.S.A. He went to Windham Technical High School, where he learnt 3D Modeling on Autodesk’s Maya platform.