I’ve been testing out a new device – an electric unicycle called Airwheel. I’ve seen some people online use it for commuting around the town. But I, of course, have a different purpose for it in mind.
This small device runs off a lithium battery and uses a gyroscope to keep itself balanced. So, it feels like riding a bicycle, but you don’t have to pedal or use your arms to steer. This leaves your arms free to hold a camera 😉 or at least that’s the first thing I thought of doing when I saw this device.
The operation is simple. You turn it on and step on the side pedals. To move forward, you lean forward. To move back, you lean back – sort of like on the Segway.
You have to balance yourself left to right, just like you do on a bicycle. This is easy when you have the forward momentum, but can be challenging when standing or going very slow – unless you are very good at balancing. I have no special skills (I’m no skateboarder 🙂 ) and it took me about two hours to learn to ride it.
At first, I would suggest using the training wheels that come with the Airwheel. Those wheels will keep you from wobbling to the sides.
But for real use, the training wheels are not good because they make noise and also don’t let you make sharp turns. After an hour, you should be ready to go without the training wheels, but I would still use the strap that also comes with the unicycle. It’s a safety strap that makes sure you don’t let the unicycle run off if you have to jump off it.
So, after a couple of days – once you feel comfortable without the side wheels and the strap – you can try taking your camera on a ride too. I tested with the camera on a gimbal and also on a steadicam. As you’ll see – and can probably guess – it worked much better with a 3-axis camera gimbal.
You can get the Airwheel on Amazon and eBay.