February 5, 2009
Though I have now an Apple Macbook and an iTouch, this could be next on my list…the iMo!!!
From Wired: Meet iMo. It’s sleek, it’s user friendly, and it’s got a big Apple logo. Could it be the newest product that’s keeping Steve Jobs so busy he can’t even make it to Macworld? We doubt it, unless he’s having trouble getting in touch with his team of lawyers.
No, iMo isn’t an authorized Apple product. Despite what its product website will tell you, it’s not yet a 100 percent autonomous robotic car being released in 2024. IMo is the work of Anthony Jannarelly, a master in automotive design student at Coventry University — the kind of project that makes us wish we were automotive design students.
The tiny two-wheeler is automated, storing itself at “iPark” locations. If you feel like driving, the concept features a holographic user interface that allows drivers to control the car through hand gestures. Need room for more people? No problem. Carve out some space in the infinitely configurable “soft sphere” that molds to users’ needs. What makes the idea so cool is it might actually work. Jannarelly tells us the technology behind his idea is available now.
A shape-shifting automated car? Even in 2058, we’re definitely buying AppleCare.
Jannarelly tells us iMo is “based on the Apple philosophy which consists of applying a process of elimination to come up with simple and elegant solutions, by means of cutting-edge technology.”
While we love the concept, we fear Jannarelly will soon become acquainted with another Apple philosophy — eliminate, with extreme prejudice, anything bearing an Apple logo that didn’t come straight from Cupertino.
Aside from the Apple influence, the most interesting thing about iMo is it could be cobbled together from the parts bins of 2008.
“All of the features of iMo are based on existing technologies,” Jannarelly says. “What I intended to do is to foresee their evolution by 2024.”
Two-wheel gyroscopic drive is what makes the Segway. General Motors, Volkswagen and others have self-driving cars. Several automakers and universities are working on gesture recognition control (Carnegie Mellon calls its system iWave, which might result in a call from Jobs’ attorneys). Even shape-shifting technology isn’t so crazy as it sounds. BMW has a shape-shifting car called GINA. It’s pretty primitive by shape-shifting standards, but Jannarelly says it will be refined.
“Within the next 50 years, we should see form-changing parts like the seat or the wheels of iMo,” he says.
We’re sure a number of you are quaking in your Pilotis at the thought of handing over your keys to a two-wheeled appliance that looks like a G3 iMac, but Jannarelly says the iMo would make driving more efficient so that true automotive enthusiasts have the time — and fuel — to hit the road or the track.
“We need to drive iMo-like cars to preserve our petrol dream cars,” he said. “iMo has been designed for saturated cities, so maybe if gearheads find out that by commuting much faster and easier with iMo, they’ve got extra time to really enjoy what their Challenger is best at.”
We’ll buy that argument. We’ll also buy any car that will take us home after a late night out.