Laptop-sized people movers are angling to make walking a thing of the past

Yet another knick-knack for early adopters.
Yet another knick-knack for early adopters.
Image: Youtube via WalkCar Cocoa Motors Inc.
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Kickstarter has birthed yet another nifty gizmo that treads the line between intriguing and totally unnecessary.

The “WalkCar” fancies itself as a small electric vehicle that you can slip in your backpack. It’s about the size of a laptop, and weighs between 4.4 to 6 lbs (2 to 3 kg), depending on whether or not you opt for the indoor or outdoor version, according to Time. Despite its compact size, the aluminum WalkCar says it can safely support up to 265 lbs (or 120 kg). On a full charge, WalkCar developer Cocoa Motors says it can travel at speeds of up to 6.2 miles per hour (about 10 km per hour) for 7.2 miles (11.5 km) and only needs three hours to fully recharge. Operating it, the company says, is as simple as ”bend[ing] your body toward destination you like.”

According to Japanese founder Kuniako Saito, the vehicle’s purpose isn’t to replace walking but to serve as a somewhat speedier alternative to human legs when needed. Of course, critics have lambasted heftier, existing motorized walkers like the Segway for failing to destroy the act of walking. The Segway craze lost steam, but follow-ups like the Honda Unicub and Toyota Winglet have proved there’s still a market for that mode of transport.

The company says the WalkCar will be available to pre-order in October on Kickstarter, at a price of 100,000 Japanese Yen (approx. $800). The device is expected to ship in the spring of 2016.