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Segway human transporter

What ever happened to this "hyped" thing?

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.03/segway.html?pg=1&topic=&topic_set=

It's a nice 5-page article on what happened.  Very interesting.

Hey Joel, you should make some comments on the Segway and why it didn't work and relate that to doomed software.

Thanks!

Dennis P.
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Technically impressive but an answer to a question no one asked. I remember when the Sinclair C5 was going to revolutionise personal transport in Britain!

John Topley
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Furthermore, electric vehicles are doomed to be niche propositions until superconductor technology becomes usable and electrical resistance is no longer a problem.

John Topley
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Didn't Elton John buy up a job lot of C5s to drive around his mansion?

Neil E
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Remember Fraisure when Miles manages to get hold of a Segway?  After seeing that I really wanted one.

Ged Byrne
Thursday, February 20, 2003

If it were about 20 pounds, no wider than a human, and be able to go farther between charges, it might actually have more of a chance of being a significant evolution - not revolution - in transportation. That, and for whatever reason alot of people tend to hate the idea, though I don't really understand why.

As is...poor guy. The thing is, doing what is supposedly impossible is the key to major success. The problem is, sometimes you end up trying to do something which is actually impossible at the time you are trying to do it.

Brian Hall
Thursday, February 20, 2003

I think someone should have given him a serious reality check. It seems clear to me that the technology may be impressive but it's simply too expensive and too limited.

John Topley
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Ooof, now I'm actually reading the article...

...poor, poor guy. This is exactly why inventors so rarely turn out to be successful entrepreneurs - the guy's a brilliant inventor, but he's got real world business sense for shit.

He made ALL the big entreprenurial mistakes, it seems. Oy vey...

Brian Hall
Thursday, February 20, 2003

>>
...poor, poor guy. This is exactly why inventors so rarely turn out to be successful entrepreneurs - the guy's a brilliant inventor, but he's got real world business sense for shit.
<<

Not exactly. Read more about his past. He is a multimillionaire from many previous entreprenurial successes. Medical products etc. Nobody can succeed with every idea.

sgf

sgf
Thursday, February 20, 2003

His original success stem's from partnering and licensing his inventive idea's.  Someone else took over and put his thought's and possible prototypes into a feasible product.

With the Segway, he decided to do it all himself.  Its a risk he took, with glazed, naive eyes and a passionate, inventor'ish, and emotionally based decisions (trust me I know what its like, I'm going through it now).  He thought everyone would view it as he did.  And that is exactly where it helps to share your idea with other people.  To get other's input and some sense of what the outside *real* world effect can take.

The analogies of the Segway to the lightbulb et al.  seem ridiculous to me.  But I think this technology will help spin-off innovations in many other sectors, and Kamen would be better off to "share" than try to take on the task of changing the world all by himself.

A perfect future example (IMHO), is the postal delivery worker.  Forget riding the Segway.  I can see the future of a robot with the Segway form factor that follows and carries the mailman's large bag with parcels to aid delivery.  There are many other uses, and I also agree with the article that the Ibot wheelchair is more impressive and practical.

Kamen is a smart guy and he'll make his mark with this thing before its out.  But I doubt it will ever become more then an expensive toy.

sedwo
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Here in Manchester, NH people are riding Segways to work every day. We just had a record snowstorm (26'), and once the streets were plowed, they went on again.

To the person who thinks that Segway is an expensive toy: lots of people use 25+ thousand dollar cars just to drive few miles from home to office and back, and yet nobody complains that cars are expensive toys.

Stupid car driver
Thursday, February 20, 2003

I do not recall venture capitalists helping out him out before  the Segway.  Maybe all the venture capitalists gave him the wrong advice while he put too much respect in them?  The fact he overbuilt and overspent on a mass market product that was ready only for early adopters seems like mistakes a venture-backed company would make. 

Diego
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Segway: overpriced compared to current technology.

I really don't know why I would spend 20x the cost of a bike for something that goes the same speed as a bicycle,  has a fixed range, costs money to charge up at night, and doesn't have the side benefit of giving good exercise ...

And for about the same money I can get a motorbike which can go 110kph and has a far greater range.

Alyosha`
Thursday, February 20, 2003

Because, Alyosha, you can arrive at work on a Segway without having to take a shower.  Try that on a bike if you live more than a couple miles away.  I live 8.5 miles (13.6 km) away myself and have to shower in the morning if I cycle in.

OK, so I'll concede that $4950 is a lot to pay not to have to take a shower at work.  But, hey, if you can afford it...  People have bought dumber things with their excess cash.  Any trip you'd otherwise have taken by car that you take with a Segway instead is a slightly cleaner environment for all of us.

Kyralessa
Friday, February 21, 2003

The segway is a good way to cop a law suit.

Won't be long before these things start wacking people walking along the footpath - remember they travel at four times walking speed - and then watch the law suits fly.

I know I would sue.

Likes walking
Friday, February 21, 2003

As another bicycle commuter, I'm also confused about why I should spend $5k on a Segway.  Okay, sure, I've spent about half that on my recumbent bike, but I get some serious health benefits, and recumbents have a cool factor even a Segway can't touch.  I probably would buy a Segway if (a) I knew for sure it could get me downtown (about 3-4 miles) and back, even considering the hills in between, and (b) it cost about 20% of its current price.  Much over $1k and I start thinking I could get a recumbent trike with dual disc brakes instead... ;>

However, it doesn't compare to a motorbike at all -- they're in entirely different worlds.  Think safety and maintenance.  About the most you have do to a Segway is remember to unplug it before you hop on.  With a motorbike, you've got to inspect the tires before every ride, get suited up, put on your brain-bucket, yadda yadda yadda... don't get me wrong, those things are part of a marvelous ritual, but running a series of quick errands all in the same zip code is just silly on a motorbike.  It's even sort of silly on a regular bike too... at least if you're a helmet fanatic like me.  (=

Sam Gray
Friday, February 21, 2003

A bicycle and a scooter. I don't know do people use scooters in US, but this is a small transportation device on two wheels, powered by a small (50-100cc) engine.
Max speed is about 60kph, and I believe that it's range is about 200kph. With a 50cc engine you don't need a driver's license to use it.
Price is about $5k.
Well, you can't drive a scooter on sidewalks, but it is small, it consumes a very little amount of fuel, it is faster then Segway, etc.
And some people in Akademgorodok use rollerblades:) to travel to office.

Slava
Friday, February 21, 2003

Segway's key competitor is the electric bicycle, which is around 20% of the price, less than 50% of the weight, and typically has a longer range. It also offers the option of pedalling! Having used an electic bicycle, I can't imagine why anyone would buy a Segway.

Phil Rodgers
Friday, February 21, 2003

I think this is why they are so keen to get legislation to allow the Segway's on the path.  This would give it an advantage over a bike that requires either the road or a cycle path.

Ged Byrne
Friday, February 21, 2003

Kamen may have underestimated just how many people live in the suburbs and commute.  Everybody I know commutes way more than 5 miles to work.  My commute is 20 minutes by car, and that's a good commute by local standards.

Sure, you may be able to sell some Segways in large cities.  But how about everybody else?  How many people can afford the Segway and live within a few miles of their workplace, and can be sure that they always will?

Brent P. Newhall
Friday, February 21, 2003

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