Japanese engineer invents ‘car in a bag’

A Japanese company has invented what it calls a “car in a bag,” and could be a personal transportation device, according to a story on Yahoo news by Reuters.

The company is Cocoa Motors and released the product recently in Tokya. The “Walk Car” is about the size of a laptop and looks a little like a skateboard. It weighs less than six pounds and can be easily carried when not being ridden.

It can carry a person who weighs up to 265 pounds, and the developer said it could be used to pull a wheelchair. The device run smoothly over flat surfaces and can go just over 6 miles per hour. In its present state it will carry a person 7.4 miles between charges. It runs on lithium batteries.

The device can fit into a book bag, just like a laptop, when not in use. Developers said the idea came from studying electric car control systems.

“I thought, “what if we could just carry our transportation in our bags, wouldn’t that mean we’d always have our transportation with us to ride on?” and my friend asked me to make one, since I was doing my masters in engineering specifically on electric car motor control systems,“ inventor and Twenty-six-year-old Kuniako Satoe told Reuters.

The Walk Car is set to go on sale in Japan in the fall, and will cost around $800. Shipping is expected to begin next spring. He is looking for crowdsource funding to get the device mass marketed.

In a BBC article, Satoe said often things are invented in the United States and improved on once they reach Japan. He said he wanted to show the world that the Japanese can also invent devices.

The walk car starts running when a person steps on it, and stops when a person sets off. A rider can switch directions by shifting his or her body weight on the device.