What is the bare minimum you need for a viable vehicle? If you have the right technology, the answer is “a wheel and a place to put your feet.” John Dingley and Nick Thatcher started building such single-wheeled vehicles in 2008 and the culmination of their efforts is the Mega-Wheelie.
The Mega-Wheelie is a self-balancing, single-wheeled electric vehicle that resembles Onewheel’s line of consumer models. Because of its self-balancing ability, it only needs one tire and the rider can accelerate or turn by shifting their weight. The handheld controller seen in the video is just a dead man’s switch for safety, serving the same purpose as the tethers you’d find on a jet ski or treadmill.
The single-wheel concept is ideal, because it keeps the vehicle’s weight as low as possible. And the large pneumatic tire helps the Mega-Wheelie roll over rough terrain with ease.
An Arduino board manages the self-balancing algorithms with the help of an IMU and controls the Mega-Wheelie’s massive 450W gear motor through a Dimension Engineering SyRen driver. A chain and sprocket gear the output to the tire down further for increased torque. Power comes from a 24V LiFePO4 battery pack.
This isn’t the first single-wheel skateboard project we’ve seen, but it is one of the best thanks to Dingley and Thatcher’s vast experience in this field.