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Toy of the month: Yanmar Wheeebo is the Segway of the seas

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Introducing Yanmar's Wheeebo - a clever solo watercraft powered by an electric motor

To the seasoned boater, Yanmar is a manufacturer of worthy diesel engines. If you’ve not owned a Yanmar-powered boat then you’ll almost certainly know someone who has.

Which makes this prototype from the conservative Japanese company something of a surprise.

The Wheeebo is a 150cm circular floating disc driven by an electric motor powered by a nickel-hydrogen battery that gives about an hour of use per charge.

You control the speed of this water toy with a hand controller but you use your body to control direction, much like a Segway electric scooter.

Lean in the desired direction of travel and onboard sensors detect the change in weight distribution and engage the board’s motor to propel the board across the water.

It travels relatively slowly, roughly at walking pace, but that means that it can be used on rivers and lakes as well as on the sea.

Yanmar says “marketing and operational testing activities will continue towards a target for service deployment of next year’s marine high season” (i.e. the Wheeebo will be out next summer), but they’ve yet to confirm a price.