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Winglet-ing it in Tokyo

by Florian Turgeon

Staff Writer

Are we humans looking at a future in which we won’t need to use our legs? It looks like it when you consider Toyota’s Winglet, Japan’s version of the Segway.

The Winglet Challenge at Mega Web in Odaiba, Tokyo, offers visitors the chance to rest their legs and try out the battery-powered standing vehicle. The “challenge” is to complete a course on a Winglet after a little instruction from the experts. There are actually a few types of Winglet: One with a handle, and two, which unlike the Segway are hands-free. For the challenge, though, it’s no surprise that visitors have to try the handled one — though the instructors notably still stand a safe distance while you practice being legless.

Once confident enough, you’re let loose to race through an LED-lit floor that illuminates and tracks your path and gives you points for good moves. The faster and more precise your “driving,” the higher the score, which appears on a screen so you can compare it against your friends.

We’ve tried it, and it’s surprisingly easier than you may think to maneuver. This a rare opportunity to be among the first to give it a try, since the Winglet isn’t actually for sale yet.

The Winglet Challenge is taking place, 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., at Mega Web in Odaiba through September and is free of charge. For more information, visit www.toyota.co.jp/jpn/events/winglet-megaweb.