RATIONAL AND OVERVIEW
In early 2015, five international universities registered their interest in participating in a competition that would focus on solutions exploring electric assisted kick-scooters with a focus on an adult customer. The desire to speed up walking with a simple device that can be instantly and safely operated by just about anybody and without any training led to the challenge of upgrading the basic kick-scooter with power assist - somewhat similar to the electric e-bike and its enormous popularity. If small enough and minimal in every respect, such a scooter could go where bicycles are impractical or prohibited, becoming especially useful for the so-called ‘first and last mile’ of urban or rural commutes. By folding down (as simply as an umbrella), it could be carried along instead of needing to be parked and once compacted, would take practically no space in the trunk of a car. Being a ‘scooter’ this device would be propelled by kicking, thus providing physical exercise. Yet combined with the convenience of electric assist (e.g. in uphill terrain), its use would be simplified and greatly broadened. Overcoming the stigma of such product -that it is a child’s toy- was one of the biggest challenges of the project since adults don’t want to appear childish, even though backpacks carried over business attire or sneakers worn with suits and dresses prove that cultural norms can be successfully challenged. Many others have thought about how such a product might gain popularity, and (...read more).