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.
iMo isn't an authorized Apple product. Despite what its product website will tell you, it's not yet a 100% autonomous robot to be released in 2024. iMo is a project designed by 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 designed to be automated, storing itself at "iPark" locations. If you feel like driving, the concept also features a holographic user interface that allows drivers to control the car through hand gestures. Need to fit more passengers? Just carve out some space in the infinitely configurable "soft sphere" that molds to users' needs.
A shape-shifting automated car? Even in 2058, we're definitely buying AppleCare.
According to Jannarelly, the iMo is "based on the Apple philosophy which consists in applying a process of elimination to come up with simple and elegant solutions, by means of cutting edge technology." We love the concept, but fear that Mr. Jannarelly will soon become acquainted with another Apple philosophy -- this one involving the process of eliminating anything with an Apple logo that didn't come straight from Cupertino.
Aside from the Apple influence, what's most interesting about the iMo is that it could be cobbled together from the parts bins of 2008. "All of the features of iMo are based on existing technologies," Jannarelly told Wired.com. "What I intended to do is to foresee their evolution by 2024." Two-wheel gyroscopic drive is already the standard powertrain for the Segway, self-driving cars are on the drawing board, and Alpine is working on gesture recognition control. "Within the next fifty years, we should see form-changing parts like the seat or the wheels of iMo," Jannarelly said.
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 that the iMo can make driving more efficient so that true automotive enthusiasts have the time 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, and we'll also buy any car that will take us home after a late night out.
Photos courtesy Anthony Jannarelly.