I highly recommend trying it out sometime - it's a surprising amount of fun once you get the hang of it.
EDIT: Unicycling levels - I'm probably about a level 3 (on a good day). Neat sport with interesting progression - perfect for programmers that like to level up and get good at things (and stay active!):
> They are quite difficult to ride…
It looks like it—even the guys doing tricks looked the entire time like they were one slight hand-wave away from bailing.
As far as learning, I kept a little logbook of each time I went out. It honestly feels impossible at first (constantly falling in 360 degrees), but you just have to keep working on it. I did most of my learning at a school playground (lots of space to wobble around) and leaned against the school wall for support.
Maybe it's possible to build an electric one cheaply? I wonder how much tlb's cost...
EDIT: http://tlb.org/#eunicycle "All together the components, in single unit retail quantities, cost about $1500." I wonder how expensive it would be today?
Is it comfortable for short commutes?
Added in edit: email in profile if you want more!
I think that cities in general would function much better with a more diverse transport mix. The improvements in personal electric vehicles is one of the biggest steps towards achieving this.
I think electric bicycles, electric skateboards and now these things can all play a part.
However, I can't imagine many people buying an electric unicycle for $2000 USD. That is very expensive.
Still, urban commuting really lends itself for awesome things we grew up with like skateboards, unicycles, rollerblades and all that. I've been traveling with my skateboard ever since I needed to catch trains to get to work and missed them frequently.
Since then, no such problems.
Video of me on my SBU:
Unfortunately, it turns out to not be usable in San Francisco. It handles hills up to a decent grade (I forget exactly what, but probably the 30% the SBUv3 advertises). But unfortunately it doesn't handle variations very well. And as hilly as San Francisco is, you can't walk 5 steps without the slope changing. When I say it doesn't handle it very well, I mean it feels like it's speeding up or slowing down unpredictably. Even just going from the sidewalk to the street, crossing it, and back to the sidewalk is hard.
Because of that, I haven't touched the thing in several years. And the last time I looked at it (sometime last year) it turns out the battery won't even charge anymore. Apparently leaving it unused for a couple years is sufficient to render the battery unusable.
I have no idea if the SBUv3 is any better.
Of course, if you live somewhere that's reasonably flat, then I'm sure it will work great.
It's unicycle in size but has a small wheel at the back. I haven't ridden any of these but the YikeBike looks cool, functional and seems to be a similar size to these electric unicycles and more stable.
The fastest human footspeed on record is 44.72 km/h (12.42m/s, 27.44 mph), seen during a 100 meters sprint (average speed between the 60th and the 80th meter) by Usain Bolt. Maximum human sprint speed is strikingly slower than that of many animals.
e-Unicycle rider could easily ride at 25 mph in full control, safe and go for up to 40 miles range, great commuting, outdoors, large industrial warehouse distances covered in seconds, could ride as slow as your walking partners, compact, places off road, narrow walkways, along the road, or sidewalks - where cars and bikes don't go, e-unicycle goes.
After a bit, most of us had no troubles going up and down a very steep hill or going full speed on the flats.
It was fun to try, but I couldn't see buying one - too expensive. I also found my shin bones hurt after an hour of messing around.
edit: now that I think about it, I had a sorta riding strap I could pull on that would help me balance at first. That probably helped way more than training wheels.