Japanese Researchers Unveil Inflatable E-Bike That Fits Inside Backpack

Have you ever been walking and thought: ‘Man, I really wish I could just pull an inflatable, motorised bike out of my backpack right now’? You have? Well then, I have good news. 

Researchers in Japan have recently unveiled the Poimo, which stands for Portable and Inflatable Mobility, an e-bike which folds small enough to fit in a backpack and that can be quickly inflated with a small pump into a comfortable and safe mode of transport.

The e-bike is under development at the University of Tokyo, where researchers aimed to create a mobility system which minimises the potential for injury or damage in the event of an accident.

Poimo electric bikeThe University of Tokyo/mercari R4D

The Poimo is made out of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and combines personal mobility and soft robotics technology, making it soft, safe, and lightweight enough for people to carry.

It takes just over a minute to inflate, so users can ride it on and off anywhere, and comes with a number of more rigid attachments, including the wheels, motor, battery, and a wireless controller integrated into the handlebars.

Inflatable e-bikeThe University of Tokyo/mercari R4D

The total weight of the prototype bike is 5.5 kilograms, though researchers expect the weight can be reduced with future developments, IEEE Spectrum reports.

Ryuma Niiyama, one of the researchers behind the invention, said:

We believe that our inflatable mobility, which is different from existing mobility systems and creates new relationships with people, will be useful as a one-mile mobility for the city in the future.

Inflatable mobility systems created by University of TokyoThe University of Tokyo/mercari R4D

The bike is easily customisable, and researchers have used the same technology to create other mobile inventions, like sofas, which would apparently be ideal for relaxing at ‘waterfront resorts.’

Those who have tested the bike have said it’s fun to ride, so forget scooters and bicycles because the Poimo could be the next big thing.

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