City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Honda Puyo

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I love this Honda Puyo concept car, just exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show. Not least for its looks, its clear orientation towards high-density urban living – it can spin 360 degrees to park – plus the now obligatory ‘green’ credentials of electric motors and hydrogen fuel cell, but mainly because of two ongoing obsessions: sensory and behavioural aspects of the design.

Firstly, the car’s roof explores tactility (as well as safety). According to Honda, "PUYO is a Japanese onomatopoeia that expresses the sensation of touching the vehicle’s soft body.":

"The body of the Puyo is not traditional metal but a soft gel designed to look and feel like human or animal skin. As well as the marketing appeal of a such a radical finish, the soft exterior delivers improved safety performance, especially when it comes to pedestrian protection, something Honda leads the world on."

And secondly, the car’s exterior has behaviour, in line with its conditions:

"The Puyo’s body can also glow various colours to change its look and – depending on how you view it – its personality. Honda says the changing colours alert owners to the condition of the vehicle, “facilitating a more intimate relationship between people and their cars”."


(It might enable the car to daub its own ‘CLEAN ME’ graffiti, perhaps.) This capability reminds me of Herzog & De Meuron’s Allianz Arena, of course, but also Brian Eno’s idea for re-equipping cars horns with a suite of aural motifs designed to communicate various messages – or provide a greater range of expression – to other drivers and pedestrians. The Puyo’s visual approach may be quieter if no more discreet, but I do like the idea of the car communicating its state and behaviour with subtlety. It might have been more interesting to connect these two approaches and communicate state through tactility as well as visual feedback. I’d love to hear more detail of the various parameters involved, and associated interfaces (given that changing the exterior colour of the car will be of negligible use to the driver inside, leading to possible later confusion.)

Toyota also had a concept car – the RiN – on show, which approached mood and behaviour, though with rather less insight:

"The RiN uses sensors to monitor the driver’s mental state. The futuristic concept can determine if the driver is flustered or calm and display the results on its modern dashboard."

Though if you need a car to tell you how you feel, I suspect you’re beyond help.

Honda Puyo wants to be loved []
Honda Puyo concept [Autoblog]
Early look: Honda’s Puyo concept [Leftlanenews]
See also: Frankfurt Motor Show [Monocle]

A few more images of the Puyo below:



10 responses to “Honda Puyo”

  1. Oliver Avatar

    I want one!!


  2. yoyo5280 Avatar

    I hardly got to see it because it was very crowded but it really rocks. Does any one know where to get an mp3 of the music they played in the video of Puyo?


  3. Pozí Blemente Avatar
    Pozí Blemente

    Menos mal que la casa fabricante se llama Honda porque como se llamara Unca ya teniamos el chiste facil.


  4. Render Avatar

    ¡Ostia, brilla en la oscuridad!
    ¡Es el coche de gusiluz!


  5. Abhishek Goel Avatar
    Abhishek Goel

    i love the design of tha car. the main aspects of that car is its head lights n door locks, its invisible n touchable i mean its a real wonder car, please tell me the price of that car n also tell me when it will be in delhi(INDIA)
    as soon as possible


  6. dylan Avatar

    i love this car, please get me one. how much?


  7. Aaron Fehir Avatar
    Aaron Fehir

    Can someone email me the details about this car, it looks like a hottub, do you think i could fill it with water and turn on the jets?


  8. NG Avatar

    how much would a puyo cost if it were to sell in America or just give me the Japanese price…
    please tell


  9. Sedate Me Avatar
    Sedate Me

    Holy crap, it’s an Isetta!


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