In One Era and Out the Other:
A pair of at-the-time unheralded milestones marked the year 2009.
That was when the venerable Checker Motors Corporation — which had for nearly a century manufactured the roomy yellow cabs that became mobile landmarks on urban streetscapes throughout America — filed for bankruptcy in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
And it was also the year that high school dropout and self-taught engineer Daniel Wood demonstrated the prototype for his new invention, which he called the “SBU,” for self-balancing unicycle. This electric-powered, gyroscope-packed, accelerometer-equipped, one-wheeled cycle has, in the decade since, evolved into the “SoloWheel,” now almost as common a sight on Manhattan streets as the once-ubiquitous Checker Cab is rare.
photo: Sarah Cassell Matthew Fenton
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