No, not legs. They’re so 20th Century. The good people at Honda, responding to the crisis of people having to move their feet or stand on them, have developed a system that will enable us to sit more and exercise less. They truly are, as they claim in this video, “in harmony with humanity.”

 

Personal Mobility Concept

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Jeffrey Polet
Jeffrey Polet grew up in an immigrant household in the immigrant town of Holland MI. After twenty years of academic wandering he returned to Holland and now teaches political science at Hope College, where he also grudgingly serves as chair of the department, having unsuccessfully evaded all requests. In the interim, he continues to nurture quirky beliefs: Division III basketball is both athletically and morally superior to Division I; the Hope/Calvin rivalry is the greatest in sports; the lecture is still the best form of classroom instruction; never buy a car with less than 100,000 miles on it; putts will still lip out in heaven; bears are the incarnation of evil; Athens actually has something to do with Jerusalem; and Tombstone is a cinematic classic. His academic work has mirrored his peripatetic career. Originally trained at the Catholic University of America in German philosophy and hermeneutical theory, he has since gravitated to American Political Thought. He still occasionally writes about European thinkers such as Michel Foucault or the great Max Weber, but mostly is interested in the relationship between theological reflection and political formation in the American context. In the process of working on a book on John Marshall for The Johns Hopkins University Press, he became more sensitive to the ways in which centralized decision-making undid local communities and autonomy. He has also written on figures such as William James and the unjustly neglected Swedish novelist Paer Lagerkvist. A knee injury and arthritis eliminated daily basketball playing, and he now spends his excess energy annoying his saintly wife and their three children, two of whom are off to college. Expressions of sympathy for the one who remains can be posted in the comments section. He doesn’t care too much for movies, but thinks opera is indeed the Gesamtkuntswerk, that the music of Gustav Mahler is as close as human beings get to expressing the ineffable, that God listens to Mozart in his spare time, and that Bach is history’s greatest genius.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps seeing this as an alternative to being in a wheelchair, rather than as an alternative to walking, would invite a somewhat different response.

  2. “Perhaps seeing this as an alternative to being in a wheelchair, rather than as an alternative to walking, would invite a somewhat different response.”

    …checking…

    Nope.

  3. I’m not convinced that it is actually that useful for anything. You can’t really carry any cargo with it that you couldn’t carry walking and you apparently can’t go any faster than walking speed.

  4. Given demographic trends, we are going to have an increasing elderly population, many of whom will have mobility problems. Obviously it would be better if they all had been doing lots of yoga or jogging or what-have-you from ages 10-70, but what’s done is done (or not done), and this is a fairly serious issue. It’s also one that Japan is having to confront sooner than the rest of the world, and so it’s no surprise that it’s a Japanese firm that’s taking initiative here (as with various other technological innovations aimed at the elderly). It’s perhaps a shame that they chose to use a bunch of young people for the demo, since it makes it look frivolous, but it’s not a frivolous issue at all.

  5. Needless technology. We have systems already available that do similar things for people with mobility problems. Sure, it’s pretty cool that they have this little thing with a stabilizer, but is it really any better than an electric scooter? At least with a scooter you can carry cargo.

  6. Apparently Honda has failed to take into account the profoundly detrimental effect our sedentary lifestyles have on our health already: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17sitting-t.html

    This is not technology for the elderly who struggle with mobility. It clearly is designed for people with slender rear ends and an impeccable sense of balance, which is precisely why they put those sorts of people in the ad. They are appealing to people with excess cash, a general penchant for sitting, and bodies well-toned in the pristine walls of an indoor gym replete with recycled air. Sounds exactly like a certain class of people I know.

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